Perception of Sound
- Humans can detect sounds ranging from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, but this varies with age, sex and environmental factors.
- As people get older, their ability to detect higher frequencies decreases, especially if they have been exposed to prolonged periods of loud noise.
- Females can often perceive higher frequencies better, while males can often perceive lower frequencies better.
- Sound with a frequency below 20 Hz is known as infrasound.
- Sound with a frequency above 20 kHz is known as ultrasound.
- Many animals can detect frequencies outside the human range of hearing.
- • Elephants and whales can generate and detect infrasound frequencies which they use for long-distance communication.
- • Dogs and cats can detect ultrasound frequencies.
- • Bats use very high frequency ultrasound for echolocation – by bouncing these sound waves off objects they can ‘see’ in the dark.
Bats use sound frequencies well above the range of human hearing to detect objects in darkness.
(Image: Shung, Wikimedia Commons)
(Header image: Thaut Images, Adobe Stock)