Microwave-Induced Hearing

Microwaves directed at the human skull can be heard if emitted in pulses. Frey and Coren (1979) reported the theory of a colleague, R.M. White, that microwave-induced hearing is due to thermoacoustic expansion in cochlear structures (expansion due to heat, producing an audible sound). The microwave burst heats the bones near the cochlea like a microwave oven heats food. If this occurs in rhythms the vibration of the bone can be heard through bone conduction hearing (the conduction of vibrations through bones of the skull).

How might you hear a meteorite that is 50 miles away?

Thermoacoustic expansion and bone conduction might also explain a rare and exotic phenomenon: the auditory perception of meteorites at long distances. Keay (1980) noted:

...The problem was recognized almost 100 years ago by Sir Charles Blagdon, Secretary of the Royal Society of London. He collected reports of a large fireball and was perplexed by the simultaneous observations of hissing sounds heard as the fireball passed more than 50 miles from the observers....It must be stressed that these anomalous sounds are not to be confused with the normal acoustic phenomena-sonic booms and rumbles-which travel at normal velocities and are heard some time after the fireball has passed the observer. (p.11)


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