Low frequency sensitivity

father timer

Junior Member
Does anyone suffer physical symptoms like nausea or dizziness while playing next to a loud bass cabinet? Most of the bass players I work with play pretty loud and have the low end cranked up so much that I can feel my body resonating inside and it 's making me physically ill at times. I've tried to talk to them about it, and sometimes they back off the low end and volume a bit, but then as the night goes on, it just gets out of hand. The first set is usually fine, then it's down hill from there. I wear the orange earplugs and they really help with mid and hi frequencies, but nothing seems to stop the low end. what's interesting is the rest of the band doesn't have this problem, and I think it's because I'm sitting down and they're standing. Any ideas or suggestions on how to deal with this?
Thanks for any help!


Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
If they don't want to adjust, and it is making you ill, then I suggest finding a new band. Not an easy task I'm sure but better than being ill.
Below is something I learned in college a long time ago. Spread the word.

More than 15 million Americans currently have some form of coronary heart disease (CHD), which involves a narrowing of the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. Risk factors for CHD include diabetes, high blood pressure, altered blood lipids, obesity, smoking, menopause, and inactivity. To this list we can now add noise, thanks to a recent study and assessment of the evidence by the WHO Noise Environmental Burden on Disease working group. The findings, first presented at the Internoise 2007 conference in August 2007, will be published in December.
“The new data indicate that noise pollution is causing more deaths from heart disease than was previously thought,” says working group member Deepak Prasher, a professor of audiology at University College in London—perhaps hundreds of thousands around the world. “Until now, the burden of disease related to the general population’s exposure to environmental noise has rarely been estimated in nonoccupational settings at the international level.”
The separate noise-related working group first convened in 2003 and began sifting through data from studies in European countries to derive preliminary estimates of the impact of noise on the entire population of Europe. They then sought to separate the noise-related health effects from those of traffic-related air pollution and other confounding factors such as physical inactivity and smoking. In 2007, the group published Quantifying Burden of Disease from Environmental Noise, their preliminary findings on the health-related effects of noise for Europeans. Their conclusion: about 2% of Europeans suffer severely disturbed sleep, and 15% suffer severe annoyance due to environmental noise, defined as community noise emitted from sources such as road traffic, trains, and aircraft.


Platinum Member
I don't have this issue with guy's I play with, but I HAVE felt what you are talking about twice.

One was from a bass player using his 5 string through his 8x10 SVT cab pretty loud at a rehearsal, and the other was at a Vince Neil (solo) show.

Vic Foxx was the drummer, and he was using a 20x28 bass drum.
The bass drum was so low pitched, AND was friggin' LOUD through the system. I had to move back half way in the venue because it was making me queasy.

I haven't experienced that since, but it was enough haha!


Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I went to see Styx in a small venue here and the bass/bass drum was so low and loud that the bottom of my pants were moving as if in the wind. The entire show was so loud that I left half way through because it wasn't comfortable. 8 on the amps would have been much better than 11.


Senior Member
I have not personally experienced this, but from what I know it's possible that the way that bass is amplified is creating some infrasonic vibrations known to cause nausea and other health issues.

More on infrasound here:

It might be worth trying to measure the frequencies you are exposed to and move the bass cabinet away from you.

father timer

Junior Member
Thanks to all who responded. No Way Jose, yes I have hi pitched tones in both ears constantly (tinitus) and have for many years. Have used ear plugs for 20 years too.

Gruntersdad, Yes I'd love to find another band to work with but there aren't very many of those opportunities availble any more as I'm sure you know. I keep looking though. Interesting article on noise pollution and coronary heart disease, thanks. And as far as moving the bass cab, I've tried getting as far away from it as possible but there's only one room we play that allows me to do that, so I'm prettyh much stuck close to the cab. Unfortunately, the club where it's the worst is one where I set up close to the cabinet and am in a corner which seems to create an area of low frequencies that i can't get away from. I wish I could buy or build a riser, that would get me off the ground at least, but i can't afford to buy one and don't have room in my car to transport one.

Quite an article on Infrasound also. Scary!

Thanks to everyone again. My search continues for a remedy and a new playing situation!


Platinum Member
Weird... I thought I was the only one that experienced this.

I had this happen to me years ago at a car show. I was standing behind some stereo company's van during a demo. One of those, the whole van is the sound system type of things. The low end coming off of that made me so ill that I had to get away from it.


I went to see Styx in a small venue here and the bass/bass drum was so low and loud that the bottom of my pants were moving as if in the wind. The entire show was so loud that I left half way through because it wasn't comfortable. 8 on the amps would have been much better than 11.
I went to a Ministry concert like that at the Hollywood Palladium. There was a "moat" (space gap) between the stage and the fans, and a security guy was walking through it in front of the speakers and he stopped in front of one stack and just stood there looking in astonishment at his clothes flapping in time with the bass/drums.

If you ever want to amuse your pet or child, hold a balloon up to a speaker playing really low frequencies. Sound waves become visible.

Hmm, I wonder what happens if you tape balloons all over your bass drum resonant head.

BTW to the OP if the club's stage is so small you can't get far enough away from the bass cabinet, then it's probably too loud for the audience too. Low sound frequencies dissipate less energy over a given distance than high frequencies, so they're probably feeling the vibration too.