There have been a lot of headlines recently about strange brain injuries to staff at US Embassies in Cuba and China. Several staff diplomats in the two countries reported headaches, dizziness, nausea and hearing loss beginning in late November of 2017 and continuing through April 2018. Some of the embassy workers have mild brain damage, and two were rendered entirely deaf. Canada’s government required families of diplomatic staff in Cuba to leave the country, as a precaution. Some theories allege that the injuries are due to sonic waves, being emitted by listening devices or other means, but it’s a highly sophisticated way of injuring people, and it’s not been seen before. The sonic waves can be above and below the typical audible range of human hearing, but US officials believe that in Cuba some of the attacks were extremely loud noises.
Theories that a toxin is responsible are also being floated, but so far there’s been no evidence of poisoning. In Cuba staff reported sometimes hearing high pitched noises in their homes and offices. Microwaves (not the ovens, the frequency range) can be aimed at homes and buildings from vehicles or devices that resemble satellite dishes. While it’s possible to weaponize sound and cause neurological damage, experts are still looking for a way to explain the mechanics of how the diplomats were injured.