LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device) Defense Info Sheet

By Jake Gonzalez

Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRAD) are extremely loud, highly focused speakers used as long range communication devices, to inflict pain and disperse crowds. Think of them as sonic cannons. What makes them particularly dangerous is that they can be focused. Normal sound waves propagate in all directions from the source. An LRAD focuses the sound in one direction which allows the operator to amplify sound to destructive volumes without hurting themselves. US police departments have already deployed LRADs against peaceful protesters in New York City, Philly, Phoenix, Toronto, Portland, and Pittsburgh.

Effects of an LRAD attack:

  1. Immediate pain in your ears and head. 
  2. Bodily pain, migraines, sinus pain, dizziness, facial pressure and ringing in the ears, as well as discomfort that is not immediately recognizable as sonic in nature.
  3. Long term hearing loss and potential damage to internal organs.


  1. If you have no ear protection, cover your ears with your hands, or stick your fingers in your ears.  
  2. Move perpendicular to the source of the sound. If you cannot determine the source, assume it is coming from the front line of the police or above them, as they will not subject themselves to its effects.
  3. Ear plugs. The denser and better fitting the better. Even balled-up toilet paper will temporarily help protect you from the damaging high frequencies of an LRAD attack.
  4. Safety/Construction Earmuffs will help defend against a full-spectrum LRAD attack, especially in conjunction with earplugs. Closed back, over ear headphones provide similar but inferior protection.

Note: Ear protection can help protect you from permanent damage if subjected to short duration’s of high decibels but no amount of ear protection will allow you to withstand a prolonged direct blast from close range.



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