Some people have reported symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, and headaches that they attribute to ultrasound (US) emitted by devices in public places. The primary aim of the present study was to investigate whether inaudible US can provoke adverse symptoms compared to a sham presentation, under double-blind conditions. A second aim was to investigate whether the expectation of US being present could provoke adverse symptoms (a nocebo response). The US stimulus was a 20 kHz tone presented continuously for 20 min set to at least 15 dB below the participants' detection threshold, giving a typical sound pressure level (SPL) of 84 dB. No evidence that US provoked symptoms was found, but there was evidence of small nocebo effects. A case study on an individual with high self-reported sensitivity to US gave similar results. The present study did not reproduce the severe symptoms reported previously by some members of the public; this may be due to the SPL or duration of the stimulus, or strength of the nocebo stimulus. These findings cannot be used to predict outcomes from exposures to sounds that are audible to the individual in question, or to sounds with higher SPLs, longer durations, or different frequency content.

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