Teeth, dentistry, pain, and audio analgesia (but not pitch) (Peter Cariani )

Subject: Teeth, dentistry, pain, and audio analgesia (but not pitch)
From:    Peter Cariani  <peter(at)epl.meei.harvard.edu>
Date:    Thu, 29 Oct 1998 16:41:20 +0100

There is a different, obscure connection between our teeth and what we hear, one that involves pain rather than pitch. Apparently intense sound stimuli can have some analgesic effect, such that dentists used "audio analgesia" to suppress pain. (Anyone know of any frequency dependencies for this effect?) Licklider once wrote a paper on a psychophysiological model of audio analgesia: Licklider, J. C.R. 1961. On psychophysiological models. In Sensory Communication. Edited by W. A. Rosenblith. 49-72. New York: MIT Press/John Wiley. It sounds amazingly effective: 116 dB SPL "waterfall" sounds apparently masked pain in 65% of 1000 dental patients (drilling, grinding, extraction). Ask for it next time you get your tune-up at the dentist. Peter Cariani McGill is running a new version of LISTSERV (1.8d on Windows NT). Information is available on the WEB at http://www.mcgill.ca/cc/listserv

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