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The following publications are directly linked to the projects EMRP HLT01 Ears and EMPIR 15HLT03 Ears II:

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Does airborne ultrasound lead to activation of the auditory cortex?

Author(s):Robert Kühler, Simone Kühn, Tilmann Sander-Thömmes, Bernd Ittermann, Albrecht Ihlenfeld, Rü. Brühl, Johannes Hensel, Martin Bauer, Markus Weichenberger, Christian Koch
Journal:Biomedical Engineering/Biomedizinische Technik, De Gruyter, 2019 , 64 , 481-493
Abstract:As airborne ultrasound can be found in many technical applications and everyday situations, the question as to whether sounds at these frequencies can be heard by human beings or whether they present a risk to their hearing system is of great practical relevance. To objectively study these issues, the monaural hearing threshold in the frequency range from 14 to 24 kHz was determined for 26 test subjects between 19 and 33 years of age using pure tone audiometry. The hearing threshold values increased strongly with increasing frequency up to around 21 kHz, followed by a range with a smaller slope toward 24 kHz. The number of subjects who could respond positively to the threshold measurements decreased dramatically above 21 kHz. Brain activation was then measured by means of magnetoencephalography (MEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and with acoustic stimuli at the same frequencies, with sound pressure levels (SPLs) above and below the individual threshold. No auditory cortex activation was found for levels below the threshold. Although test subjects reported audible sounds above the threshold, no brain activity was identified in the above-threshold case under current experimental conditions except at the highest sensation level, which was presented at the lowest test frequency.

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