Various methods and procedures have been developed so far to test laser induced optical damage. The question naturally
arises, that what are the respective sensitivities of these diverse methods. To make a suitable comparison, both the
processing of the measured primary signal has to be at least similar to the various methods, and one needs to establish a
proper damage criterion, which has to be universally applicable for every method. We defined damage criteria based on
the probability density distribution of the obtained detector signals. This was determined by the kernel density estimation
procedure. We have tested the entire evaluation procedure in four well-known detection techniques: direct observation of
the sample by optical microscopy; monitoring of the change in the light scattering power of the target surface and the
detection of the generated photoacoustic waves both in the bulk of the sample and in the surrounding air.