Infrasound – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Sound Design Glossary Terms

I. What is Infrasound?

Infrasound refers to sound waves that have frequencies below the range of human hearing, typically below 20 Hz. Despite being inaudible to the human ear, infrasound can still be felt as vibrations in the body. Infrasound is produced by various natural and man-made sources and can have a range of effects on humans and the environment.

II. How is Infrasound Produced?

Infrasound can be produced by a variety of natural phenomena, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, thunderstorms, and ocean waves. Man-made sources of infrasound include industrial machinery, explosions, and certain types of musical instruments. Infrasound can also be intentionally generated for scientific research or for sound design purposes.

III. Where is Infrasound Found in Nature?

Infrasound can be found in various natural environments, including mountains, forests, and bodies of water. Animals such as elephants, whales, and tigers are known to produce infrasound for communication and navigation purposes. Infrasound can also be detected in the atmosphere and can travel long distances, making it a useful tool for monitoring seismic activity and weather patterns.

IV. What are the Effects of Infrasound on Humans?

Infrasound can have a range of effects on humans, depending on the intensity and duration of exposure. Some people may experience feelings of unease, anxiety, or even nausea when exposed to high levels of infrasound. Prolonged exposure to infrasound has been linked to health issues such as headaches, fatigue, and changes in heart rate. However, the effects of infrasound on individuals can vary, and not everyone may be sensitive to its presence.

V. How is Infrasound Used in Sound Design?

Infrasound is used in sound design to create immersive and impactful audio experiences in movies, video games, and live performances. By incorporating infrasound into soundtracks, sound designers can enhance the emotional impact of a scene or create a sense of tension and suspense. Infrasound can also be used to simulate the rumble of thunder, the roar of a jet engine, or the deep growl of a monster, adding depth and realism to the sound design.

VI. What are the Challenges of Working with Infrasound in Sound Design?

Working with infrasound in sound design presents several challenges, including the need for specialized equipment to capture and reproduce low-frequency sound waves. Infrasound can also be difficult to control and manipulate, as it can interact with the physical environment in unpredictable ways. Additionally, the effects of infrasound on human listeners must be carefully considered to ensure that it does not cause discomfort or harm. Despite these challenges, the use of infrasound in sound design can greatly enhance the overall audio experience for audiences.