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June 1962

Audio Analgesia: A New Problem for Otologists

Arch Otolaryngol. 1962;75(6):498-501. doi:10.1001/archotol.1962.00740040513003

"Audio analgesia" refers to the use of sound to allay pain. This method has been used particularly in dentistry and, on a more limited scale, in obstetrics, but it may find further and more general application. Apparatus to produce the necessary loud sound, usually stereophonic music or wideband "white" noise delivered to the patient through earphones, with the volume under the control of the patient, has been developed and placed on the market. The use of these instruments poses a new problem for otology because the effectiveness of the loud sound in distracting and relaxing the patient or otherwise producing the "analgesia" depends at least in part on the high level at which the noise is delivered. The levels are such that permanent threshold shifts would be expected if persons were habitually exposed to them for several hours a day.

Fortunately, the human ear can tolerate the necessary intensities of

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