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Effects of very high-frequency sound and ultrasound on humans part II: a double-blind randomized provocation study of inaudible 20-kHz ultrasound

Effects of very high-frequency sound and ultrasound on humans part II: a double-blind randomized provocation study of inaudible 20-kHz ultrasound
Effects of very high-frequency sound and ultrasound on humans part II: a double-blind randomized provocation study of inaudible 20-kHz ultrasound
Some people have reported symptoms such as nausea, dizziness and headaches that they attribute to ultrasound (US) emitted by devices in public places. The primary aim of the present study was to investigate whether inaudible US can provoke adverse symptoms compared to a sham presentation, under double-blind conditions. A second aim was to investigate whether the expectation of US being present could provoke adverse symptoms (a nocebo response). The US stimulus was a 20 kHz tone presented continuously for 20 minutes set to at least 15 dB below the participants’ detection threshold, giving a typical sound pressure level (SPL) of 84 dB. No evidence that US provoked symptoms was found, but there was evidence of small nocebo effects. A case study on an individual with high self-reported sensitivity to US gave similar results. The present study did not reproduce the severe symptoms reported previously by some members of the public; this may be due to the SPL or duration of the stimulus, or strength of the nocebo stimulus. These findings cannot be used to predict outcomes from exposures to sounds that are audible to the individual in question, or to sounds with higher SPLs, longer durations, or different frequency content.
0001-4966
2521-2531
Fletcher, Mark
ac11588a-fafe-4dbb-8b3c-80a6ff030546
Lloyd Jones, Sian
0295b576-6de4-4d1d-b91a-96aee742fbcb
White, Paul
2dd2477b-5aa9-42e2-9d19-0806d994eaba
Dolder, Craig
b08350be-fd09-4049-95bd-06a9c157a8bc
Leighton, Timothy
3e5262ce-1d7d-42eb-b013-fcc5c286bbae
Lineton, Ben
1ace4e96-34da-4fc4-bc17-a1d82b2ba0e2
Fletcher, Mark
ac11588a-fafe-4dbb-8b3c-80a6ff030546
Lloyd Jones, Sian
0295b576-6de4-4d1d-b91a-96aee742fbcb
White, Paul
2dd2477b-5aa9-42e2-9d19-0806d994eaba
Dolder, Craig
b08350be-fd09-4049-95bd-06a9c157a8bc
Leighton, Timothy
3e5262ce-1d7d-42eb-b013-fcc5c286bbae
Lineton, Ben
1ace4e96-34da-4fc4-bc17-a1d82b2ba0e2

Fletcher, Mark, Lloyd Jones, Sian, White, Paul, Dolder, Craig, Leighton, Timothy and Lineton, Ben (2018) Effects of very high-frequency sound and ultrasound on humans part II: a double-blind randomized provocation study of inaudible 20-kHz ultrasound. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 144 (4), 2521-2531, [2521]. (doi:10.1121/1.5063818).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Some people have reported symptoms such as nausea, dizziness and headaches that they attribute to ultrasound (US) emitted by devices in public places. The primary aim of the present study was to investigate whether inaudible US can provoke adverse symptoms compared to a sham presentation, under double-blind conditions. A second aim was to investigate whether the expectation of US being present could provoke adverse symptoms (a nocebo response). The US stimulus was a 20 kHz tone presented continuously for 20 minutes set to at least 15 dB below the participants’ detection threshold, giving a typical sound pressure level (SPL) of 84 dB. No evidence that US provoked symptoms was found, but there was evidence of small nocebo effects. A case study on an individual with high self-reported sensitivity to US gave similar results. The present study did not reproduce the severe symptoms reported previously by some members of the public; this may be due to the SPL or duration of the stimulus, or strength of the nocebo stimulus. These findings cannot be used to predict outcomes from exposures to sounds that are audible to the individual in question, or to sounds with higher SPLs, longer durations, or different frequency content.

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Effects of very high-frequency sound and ultrasound on humans part II - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 23 February 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 31 October 2018
Published date: 31 October 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 417682
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/417682
ISSN: 0001-4966
PURE UUID: d75ecc28-8830-471a-b0d4-a8f9af1561f0
ORCID for Paul White: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4787-8713
ORCID for Craig Dolder: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0817-326X
ORCID for Timothy Leighton: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1649-8750

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Date deposited: 09 Feb 2018 17:30
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 05:38

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Contributors

Author: Mark Fletcher
Author: Sian Lloyd Jones
Author: Paul White ORCID iD
Author: Craig Dolder ORCID iD
Author: Ben Lineton

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