Dangerous Decibels

Can sounds in frequencies outside the audible range of humans damage our ears?

Unsurprisingly, damage to the ear is not caused by the frequency of sound, but by the decibels (volume).  This means that sounds that you can't hear can still be damaging to your ears.  The audible frequency range to a human is typically from 8 Hz to 22kHz.

Turn your volume up and play this sample of a tone at 15kHz:

Hurts your ears, right?  Unbeknownst to you, I have been playing a 22kHz tone (barely outside human hearing) at the same volume since you've been on this page.  Both tones can be equally damaging when listened to at a high enough volume for a long enough duration.  Imagine a new age of computer viruses that instead of stealing your credit card info, they silently make you go deaf by blasting in tones inaudible frequencies.  So quick, close the page before it's too late!