Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Harold B. Dowse

Second Committee Member

Richard O. Eason

Third Committee Member

William A. Halteman


Soft tissue dysfunction is a serious medical problem and its diagnosis and treatment are severely impeded by the lack of objective methods of identifying its presence and causes. It has been hypothesized that there are characteristic physiological acoustic responses to sound that could be utilized as objective diagnostic indicators of soft tissue dysfunction. The purpose of this research project has been to investigate and evaluate the possible use of audible sound as an indicator of this dysfunction. An experimental system consisting of acoustic transducers, speaker, amplifier, sound generator, data conversion card, computer and software that are capable of collecting and analyzing project data was assembled and tested. A single-blinded clinical human trial was designed and camed out using this system. Measurements were made on 37 subjects, 19 with injuries and 18 controls. Several injury locations were investigated. For this noncontact measurement, 16 acoustic tones were directed sequentially at the identified subject sites from a distance of 1 inch. A miniature acoustic transducer was used to direct a sound of approximately 65-70 dB. A miniature sensor located in the plane of the transducer collected the subject response signal. Response data were taken at the excitation frequency and at the first, second and fourth harmonics. Collected data was saved to digital files for further analysis. Statistical correlations were determined between this technique and those sites identified as injured or uninjured in the subject screening examinations conducted. While no statistically significant results were obtained, statistical trends were noted that suggest design modifications for the data collection system as well as future trials. Recommendations for future projects of this nature are discussed.