Exposure-response relationship between hand-arm vibration and vibrotactile perception sensitivity

Am J Ind Med. 1999 May;35(5):456-64. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0274(199905)35:5<456::aid-ajim2>3.0.co;2-#.


Background: The objectives of the study were to examine whether occupational use of vibrating hand-held tools was associated with an impaired vibrotactile perception, whether any exposure-response relationship exists, and whether the different populations of mechano-receptive afferent units are equally affected.

Methods: Vibrotactile perception thresholds have been measured at seven frequencies (8-500 Hz) and evaluated among 125 vibration-exposed and 45 non-exposed male employees in a heavy engineering production workshop. Vibration exposure measurements were assessed on tools in accordance with ISO 5349. Vibrotactile perception thresholds have been individually graded in stages and placed in relation to individual vibration exposure.

Results: The outcome did not reveal a clear relationship between vibration exposure and reduced vibrotactile sensitivity on an individual basis. There was a clear tendency on a group basis towards elevated thresholds when the study population was divided into three exposure categories. A fourfold increase in relative risk of reduced vibrotactile sensitivity for test frequencies above 40 Hz was observed between the highest exposure category compared to the non-exposed.

Conclusions: It was concluded that reduced tactile sensitivity is related to the degree of vibration exposure but it is not at present possible to delineate an exposure-response relationship.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arm / physiopathology*
  • Engineering
  • Hand / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiopathology
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Pacinian Corpuscles / physiopathology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensation Disorders / etiology*
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology
  • Touch*
  • Vibration / adverse effects*