There has been a wave of concern over reports that US diplomats around the world are the victims of sonic attacks that are leaving them with damaged hearing. Are these reports valid, and how is the US government responding to these attacks?
Sonic Attacks in Cuba
It all started in the fall of 2016, with reports of strange symptoms among American diplomats in Cuba. Following the renewal of diplomatic relations with Cuba, the relationship between these countries continues to be tense, and the reports of attacks left many worried. For the last year and a half, US diplomats serving in Cuba has experienced symptoms ranging from mild brain damage and hearing loss to tinnitus, cognitive issues, headaches, fatigue, and even problems with balance.
It’s believed that some sort of sonic device was being used, damaging the brain with audible and inaudible sounds, and many blame some kind of weaponized microwaves or radio waves, or even malfunctioning surveillance gear as the cause of the injuries. While an estimated 200 Americans stationed in seven cities in four countries have come forward for testing, only 26 diplomats have confirmed injuries which may stem from this wave of strange attacks.
Attacks in Other Countries
After the attacks in Cuba, reports have begun coming in from other countries, with diplomats reporting similar symptoms in China, Uzbekistan and Singapore. These attacks have not been confirmed, and diplomats tested in these countries didn’t show any brain damage or experience hearing loss.
Some think the attacks are nothing more than elaborate conspiracy theories, many blaming Russia for the attacks, but the State Department hasn’t had much to say on the alleged attacks, and the only officially confirmed attacks are the ones in Cuba, and one diplomat stationed in China. Be that as it may, the State Department has issued travel advisories for Cuba and China, recommending that Americans traveling to these countries reconsider their plans, and seek medical attention if they experience any auditory or sensory phenomena, hearing loss, headaches, or tinnitus.
Are the Attacks Real?
Experts are throwing doubt on the validity of the attacks and have been studying how ultrasound or sonic acoustic waves could, or couldn’t, be used as a weapon. It is true that sounds can harm hearing and the brain, causing headaches, the inability to concentrate, temporary or permanent hearing loss, and tinnitus. However, sonic wave that can cause damage are not covert, and the targeted people would be able to hear the sounds. Another fact that would make sonic attacks impractical is that ultrasound cannot travel very far and would only be affective in the room with the sound generator, or at the most, the room next to it.
Another reason sonic weapons are an odd choice is the fact that different people have different thresholds, and if a group is exposed to a sound, the effects on each individual are very unpredictable. If that wasn’t enough to discourage sonic attacks, young people and women would be the most likely to be affected by ultrasound attacks, and adult men are the least susceptible to auditory damage, making it an odd weapon to target US diplomats abroad.
Some experts say other causes for the symptoms are far more likely, such as poisoning, illness, or accidental noise exposure in these large cities, and think the word ‘attack’ should not be used until some source is found for these mysterious symptoms. They’re discrediting the reports and say that all evidence points away from there having been intentional attacks on diplomats in Cuba or China.
Visit Us at My Hearing Centers
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