The Difference Between Infrasound and Ultrasound

What is Infrasound?

Infrasound is a low-frequency audible sound that is oftentimes below 20 Hz. Infrasounds can be caused by various sources, such as winds, storms, earthquakes, volcanoes, and even wind turbines. Moreover, some animals, like elephants, even communicate with one another through infrasound since low-frequency sounds travel faster than high-frequency sounds. 

Also, studies have suggested animals can perceive infrasound before a natural disaster occurs. Animals fled coastal areas hours before the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 leading researchers to believe that it was due to infrasound.

What is Ultrasound?

Ultrasound is a high-frequency audible sound that is usually above 20,000 Hz and has very short wavelengths. It’s not often that we find ultrasounds in nature unless it is created by creatures like birds, bats, and dolphins. 

Ultrasound is typically used for medical purposes to repair damaged muscles, treat inoperable tumors, or scan a human fetus. It can also be used for industrial purposes such as helping in the process of cleaning or speeding chemical reactions. Ultrasound can be used in the process of cleaning jewelry, optical lenses, dental and surgical instruments, and some industrial parts.

What is the Difference Between Infrasound and Ultrasound?

The difference between infrasound and ultrasound is that infrasound is the barely audible low-frequency sound that humans can hear whereas ultrasound is the barely audible high-frequency sound. 

Both sounds are towards the ends of both sides of the human hearing frequency range, it is very difficult for humans to hear. Therefore, infrasound and ultrasound may be inaudible to many people.

Infrasound, Ultrasound, and Hearing Loss

Infrasound can affect our ears in different ways. Sometimes, infrasound can cause general discomfort because hair cells are most sensitive to frequencies below 30 Hz even though they may be inaudible. Moreover, infrasound may cause endolymphatic hydrops, which can cause the ear to swell and may even cause vertigo, tinnitus, and more. These low-frequency sounds may even cause noise-induced hearing loss. Infrasound not only causes feelings of discomfort, but it can also have physical effects, such as breathing and digestive problems. People who live too close to wind turbines may experience some of these effects. 

Ultrasound may also contribute to hearing loss especially if the ultrasound is very strong. It may also cause dizziness, migraines, vomiting, and nausea. Therefore, it is important to limit exposure to ultrasound-emitting devices for long periods of time to protect your hearing. 

Although there aren’t any devices to protect your ears from infrasound or ultrasound, it’s unlikely that you will be exposed to a large amount of it. Remember, it is important to be proactive in protecting and maintaining your hearing health. Loud noise exposure can be very damaging, so make sure that you are doing what you can to minimize risks for hearing loss, such as wearing earplugs at loud events and keeping volume in your environment at a safe level.

We hope you enjoyed reading about the difference between infrasound and ultrasound and how you can take preventative steps to ensure that you have healthy hearing. Be sure to have your hearing tested regularly with a hearing healthcare professional. Together, you can develop an individualized plan to prevent, protect, and better manage your hearing health.

AudioCardio is a technology company focused on hearing health and wellness. Learn how AudioCardio can help maintain and strengthen your hearing with your favorite headphones or hearing aids at www.audiocardio.com.

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