Ultrasonic sound damage?

Joe Pompei pompei at audia.music.nwu.edu
Wed Aug 28 15:08:54 EST 1996


I was wondering if there was anything known about the possibility of
hearing damage resulting from ultrasonic (~50kHz) sound.  This type of
sound is routinely used for acoustic levitation and the like, and I am
concerned about health effects for workers in this field. 
 
	So far, I have found out (through papers) that high intensities of
sound damage tissue by heating, as much of the energy is absorbed (the
skin and hair's coefficient of absorption is near 1 for higher freqs.)
Sunlight is 1W/in^2, which would correspond to 152dB.  I would feel safe
working with 145dB sound, as far as heating is concerned.

	But it's the acoustical damage to the ears that I'm worried about, and
I haven't been able to find any papers on the subject.  Is high
intensity ultrasonics a danger to the auditory system?

Thanks for any help.

Joe Pompei
Northwestern University



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