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Ultrasound vs. Ultrasonic: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on February 21, 2024
Ultrasound refers to sound waves with frequencies above human hearing, while ultrasonic describes objects or processes involving ultrasound.

Key Differences

Ultrasound is a term used to describe sound waves that are above the frequency range of human hearing, typically above 20 kHz. Ultrasonic, on the other hand, is an adjective used to describe something that uses or relates to these high-frequency sound waves. While ultrasound is the phenomenon itself, ultrasonic refers to the applications or devices that employ these sound waves.
In medical and diagnostic contexts, ultrasound refers to the imaging technique that utilizes these high-frequency sound waves to create images of internal body structures. Ultrasonic, in this context, describes the technology or equipment, like ultrasonic transducers or probes, that generate and receive the ultrasound waves. Ultrasound is the process of imaging, while ultrasonic devices make this imaging possible.
Ultrasound has applications beyond medical imaging, including industrial and scientific uses. Ultrasonic technology, in these fields, encompasses a range of tools and processes that use ultrasound for purposes like cleaning, welding, or measuring. The focus of ultrasound is on the sound waves themselves, whereas ultrasonic highlights the practical applications and devices involved.
In the field of acoustics, ultrasound refers specifically to the range of sound frequencies that are above the threshold of human hearing. Ultrasonic devices or processes are those that generate, detect, or utilize these high-frequency sounds. Thus, ultrasound is a category of sound, while ultrasonic refers to the technical use or study of that sound category.
The study of ultrasound encompasses the understanding of how these high-frequency sound waves behave and interact with different mediums. Ultrasonic technology involves the application of this knowledge to create tools and techniques for various purposes. Ultrasound is a subject of study, whereas ultrasonic technologies are the practical outcome of this study.

Comparison Chart

Part of Speech



Sound waves above human hearing range
Describing something involving ultrasound

Usage in Sentences

Often used as a subject or object
Used to modify nouns

Frequency in Common Speech

Commonly used in medical/scientific terms
Less common, more technical

Complexity in Understanding

Relatively straightforward
Requires context of application

Ultrasound and Ultrasonic Definitions


Ultrasound is a medical imaging technique.
Ultrasound is safer than X-rays for prenatal imaging.


Ultrasonic describes processes involving high-frequency sound waves.
The ultrasonic cleaner efficiently removed the dirt.


Ultrasound refers to sound waves beyond human hearing.
The doctor used ultrasound to examine the fetus.


Ultrasonic equipment is used for medical imaging.
The ultrasonic probe is essential for sonography.


Ultrasound is used in various industries for non-destructive testing.
Engineers use ultrasound to detect flaws in metal structures.


Ultrasonic refers to technology operating with sound waves above human hearing.
Ultrasonic sensors are used in robotic navigation.


Ultrasound can refer to any sound above 20,000 Hz.
Bats navigate using ultrasound.


Ultrasonic can describe sounds or technologies above 20 kHz.
Ultrasonic frequencies are inaudible to humans.


Ultrasound involves high-frequency sound waves for diagnostic purposes.
Ultrasound helped diagnose the patient's liver condition.


Ultrasonic devices emit or detect sound waves beyond human hearing.
Ultrasonic waves are used in therapeutic treatments.


Ultrasonic sound.


Of or relating to acoustic frequencies above the range audible to the human ear, or above approximately 20,000 hertz.


The use of ultrasonic waves for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes, specifically to image an internal body structure, monitor a developing fetus, or generate localized deep heat to the tissues.


Of, relating to, or involving ultrasound.


An image produced by ultrasound.


(acoustics) Beyond (higher in frequency than) the range of sound perceptible to the human ear; with a frequency of 20 kilohertz or higher.


(physics) Sound with a frequency greater than the upper limit of human hearing, which is approximately 20 kilohertz.


Having frequencies above those of audible sound


(medicine) The use of ultrasonic waves for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.


(ambitransitive) To treat with ultrasound.


Very high frequency sound; used in ultrasonography


Using the reflections of high-frequency sound waves to construct an image of a body organ (a sonogram); commonly used to observe fetal growth or study bodily organs


How are ultrasound and ultrasonic used differently?

Ultrasound is a noun referring to the sound waves, while ultrasonic is an adjective describing devices or processes involving these waves.

What is ultrasound?

Ultrasound refers to sound waves with frequencies above the human hearing range.

Can ultrasound be heard by humans?

No, ultrasound frequencies are above human hearing range.

What does ultrasonic mean?

Ultrasonic describes something that involves or uses ultrasound.

What industries use ultrasonic technology?

Ultrasonic technology is used in medical, industrial, and scientific fields.

Can ultrasound detect all medical conditions?

No, ultrasound is limited and not effective for all medical diagnoses.

Are ultrasonic devices common in households?

Yes, ultrasonic devices like cleaners and pest repellers are used in households.

How does ultrasound work for imaging?

Ultrasound imaging uses sound waves to create images of internal body structures.

Can ultrasound harm pets?

Ultrasound is generally inaudible and harmless to pets.

Are ultrasound scans expensive?

The cost varies but is generally less expensive than other imaging methods.

What are common ultrasonic devices?

Common ultrasonic devices include medical probes, cleaners, and sensors.

Do ultrasonic waves travel through air?

Yes, but they are more effective in solids or liquids due to better sound conduction.

Is ultrasonic welding strong?

Yes, ultrasonic welding can create strong, reliable bonds.

Can ultrasound pass through metal?

Yes, it's used in industrial testing to detect internal defects in metal.

Do ultrasonic pest repellers really work?

Their effectiveness is debated and varies based on the situation.

What's the difference in cost between ultrasound and ultrasonic equipment?

Ultrasonic equipment varies in cost depending on its application, while medical ultrasound is typically more standardized in pricing.

Is ultrasound safe for medical imaging?

Yes, ultrasound is generally safe and non-invasive for medical imaging.

How does ultrasonic cleaning work?

It uses high-frequency sound waves to agitate a fluid, removing dirt and grime.

Are ultrasonic waves used in navigation?

Yes, especially in devices like sonar and in animal echolocation.

How far can ultrasound waves travel?

The range varies based on medium and frequency but is generally limited.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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