Used for sound therapy.
Medical and scientific uses 1 kHz tuning fork vacuum tube oscillator used by the U.S. National Bureau of Standards (now NIST) in 1927 as a frequency standard. Alternatives to the common A=440 standard include philosophical or scientific pitch with standard pitch of C=512. According to Rayleigh, physicists and acoustic instrument makers used this pitch. The tuning fork John Shore gave to George Frideric Handel produces C=512. Tuning forks, usually C512, are used by medical practitioners to assess a patient's hearing. This is most commonly done with two exams called the Weber test and Rinne test, respectively. Lower-pitched ones, usually at C128, are also used to check vibration sense as part of the examination of the peripheral nervous system. Orthopedic surgeons have explored using a tuning fork (lowest frequency C=128) to assess injuries where bone fracture is suspected. They hold the end of the vibrating fork on the skin above the suspected fracture, progressively closer to the suspected fracture. If there is a fracture, the periosteum of the bone vibrates, and fire nociceptors (pain receptors) causing a local sharp pain. This can indicate a fracture, which the practitioner refers for medical X-ray. The sharp pain of a local sprain can give a false positive. Established practice, however, requires an X-ray regardless, because it's better than missing a real fracture while wondering if a response means a sprain. A systematic review published in 2014 in BMJ Open suggests that this technique is not reliable or accurate enough for clinical use. Tuning forks also play a role in several alternative therapy practices, such as sonopuncture and polarity therapy.