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Ultrasound vs. Ultrasonic — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on September 7, 2023
Ultrasound refers to sound waves with frequencies higher than the upper limit of human hearing. Ultrasonic describes a technology or process that utilizes ultrasound.
Ultrasound vs. Ultrasonic — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Ultrasound and Ultrasonic


Key Differences

Ultrasound refers to sound waves that have frequencies higher than the audible range for humans. In contrast, ultrasonic is an adjective that describes a process, technology, or device that utilizes such high-frequency sound waves. The ultrasound is the wave itself, while ultrasonic defines the application or mechanism that uses it.
Both ultrasound and ultrasonic are common in medical fields. An ultrasound is often employed to create images of internal organs, fetuses, or even to detect blood flow. Ultrasonic devices, on the other hand, are the tools that emit these ultrasound waves to perform these medical diagnostics.
Beyond medicine, ultrasound and ultrasonic applications are diverse. Ultrasound is used in non-destructive testing in engineering and also in sonar systems. Ultrasonic technology is used in cleaning instruments, in pest control, and even in jewelry cleaning. Again, ultrasound is the phenomenon, and ultrasonic refers to its applications.
When talking about safety, ultrasound is generally considered to be less risky than X-rays because it doesn't involve ionizing radiation. Ultrasonic devices, especially in medical settings, are designed with safety precautions to ensure they utilize ultrasound waves effectively and safely.
In summary, ultrasound is the term used for the actual sound waves, while ultrasonic describes the methods or devices that make use of these waves. The terms are related but serve different purposes and are not interchangeable.

Comparison Chart


High-frequency sound waves
Use of high-frequency sound waves


Imaging, sonar, diagnostics
Medical devices, cleaning, sonar

Field of Application

Medicine, engineering, marine
Medicine, engineering, cleaning

Part of Speech



Technology or process

Compare with Definitions


Ultrasound is used for imaging internal body structures.
She had an ultrasound to check her kidney health.


Ultrasonic is a technology for cleaning.
The dentist uses an ultrasonic cleaner for instruments.


Ultrasound is high-frequency sound waves.
Ultrasound is used to produce images of a fetus.


Ultrasonic pertains to high-frequency vibrations.
The ultrasonic waves helped detect the defect in the metal.


Ultrasound is used in diagnostics.
The doctor ordered an ultrasound to diagnose the issue.


Ultrasonic devices are used in pest control.
Ultrasonic repellents are used to deter rodents.


Ultrasound is used in sonar systems.
The submarine used ultrasound for navigation.


Ultrasonic is used for depth measurement.
Ultrasonic sensors are used in some parking systems.


Ultrasound is sound waves with frequencies higher than the upper audible limit of human hearing. Ultrasound is not different from "normal" (audible) sound in its physical properties, except that humans cannot hear it.


Ultrasonic refers to the use of ultrasound.
Ultrasonic devices are used in medical imaging.


Sound or other vibrations having an ultrasonic frequency, particularly as used in medical imaging
An ultrasound scanner


Of or involving sound waves with a frequency above the upper limit of human hearing.


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


Ultrasound is a non-invasive method.
The ultrasound provided a safer alternative to an X-ray.

Common Curiosities

Is ultrasound used only in medicine?

No, ultrasound is used in various fields like engineering and marine navigation.

What are ultrasonic devices?

Ultrasonic devices are tools that emit ultrasound waves for various applications.

What is ultrasound?

Ultrasound refers to sound waves with frequencies higher than human hearing.

What does ultrasonic mean?

Ultrasonic describes technology or processes that utilize ultrasound.

Is ultrasound the same as ultrasonic?

No, ultrasound is the phenomenon, while ultrasonic describes its application.

Can ultrasound pass through walls?

Ultrasound waves generally have difficulty passing through solid barriers.

Can ultrasound harm you?

Generally, ultrasound is considered safer than X-rays as it doesn't use ionizing radiation.

Can ultrasonic waves kill bacteria?

Ultrasonic waves alone may not kill bacteria, but they can help in cleaning processes.

Is ultrasound expensive?

The cost of ultrasound procedures can vary depending on factors like location and type.

What are the parts of an ultrasonic device?

Common parts include a transducer to produce ultrasound waves and a display to show images.

What is ultrasonic welding?

Ultrasonic welding uses ultrasonic vibrations to join materials together.

Can ultrasound detect heart problems?

Yes, a specialized ultrasound called an echocardiogram can assess heart conditions.

Is ultrasonic cleaning effective?

Yes, ultrasonic cleaning is highly effective for removing dirt and grime.

Is ultrasound used in sonar?

Yes, ultrasound is a key technology in sonar systems.

Are ultrasonic pest repellents safe for pets?

Generally, ultrasonic pest repellents are considered safe for pets, but it's best to consult a vet.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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