A generalized theoretical model for evaluating the amplitudes of the sound waves generated in a spherical head model, which is irradiated by microwave pulses, is developed. The thermoelastic equation of motion is solved for a spherically symmetric heating pattern of arbitrary form. For previously treated heating patterns that are peaked at the sphere centre, the results reduce to those presented before. The generalized model is applied to the case in which the microwave absorption is concentrated near the sphere surface. It is found that, for equal average specific absorption rates, the sound intensity generated by a surface localized heating pattern is comparable to that generated by a heating pattern that is peaked at the centre. The dependence of the induced sound pressure on the shape of the microwave pulse is explored. Another theoretical extension, to the case of repeated pulses, is developed and applied to the interpretation of existing experimental data on the dependence of the human hearing effect threshold on the pulse repetition frequency.