The risk of effects to fishes and other aquatic life from impulsive sound produced by activities such as pile driving and seismic exploration is increasing throughout the world, particularly with the increased exploitation of oceans for energy production. At the same time, there are few data that provide insight into the effects of these sounds on fishes. The goal of this study was to provide quantitative data to define the levels of impulsive sound that could result in the onset of barotrauma to fish. A High Intensity Controlled Impedance Fluid filled wave Tube was developed that enabled laboratory simulation of high-energy impulsive sound that were characteristic of aquatic far-field, plane-wave acoustic conditions. The sounds used were based upon the impulsive sounds generated by an impact hammer striking a steel shell pile. Neutrally buoyant juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) were exposed to impulsive sounds and subsequently evaluated for barotrauma injuries. Observed injuries ranged from mild hematomas at the lowest sound exposure levels to organ hemorrhage at the highest sound exposure levels. Frequency of observed injuries were used to compute a biological response weighted index (RWI) to evaluate the physiological impact of injuries at the different exposure levels. As single strike and cumulative sound exposure levels (SELss, SELcum respectively) increased, RWI values increased. Based on the results, tissue damage associated with adverse physiological costs occurred when the RWI was greater than 2. In terms of sound exposure levels a RWI of 2 was achieved for 1920 strikes by 177 dB re 1 μPa2s SELss yielding a SELcum of 210 dB re 1 μPa2s, and for 960 strikes by 180 dB re 1 μPa2s SELss yielding a SELcum of 210 dB re 1 μPa2s. These metrics define thresholds for onset of injury in juvenile Chinook salmon.