electric signals (from a
phone, an iPad, or any other device capable of
playing music) into sound by sending the
electric signal through a cable (the long wire
plus what plugs into the device) into a coil of
metal wires that is placed near a permanent
The coil of wires produces a magnetic
field (the area around a magnetic object that
can attract or repel another magnetic object) as
it receives the electric signal continuously, and
this magnetic field from the wires interacts with
the magnetic field of the magnet. The magnetic
field of the wires changes rapidly, resulting
in its attraction and repulsion in turn to the
permanent magnet. The wires are allowed to move,
and vibrations due to the magnetic attraction and
repulsion move the wires, which then transfer the
movement to a flexible object such as a plastic
cone. The flexible object increases the vibrations
and moves the surrounding air, producing sound
waves that reach our ears.
A loudspeaker is a machine that makes noise.
Loudspeakers are found in TVs, radios, and the
system that makes announcements at school.
Headphones are small loudspeakers that produce the
sound directly into your ear, so that only you can
Loudspeakers work by turning
electricity into sound. To understand how
this works, we have to understand how sound works.
Sound is a type of vibration. Just like when a
large truck passes by and you feel the rumble,
sounds are vibrations that your ears are sensitive
enough to feel. So, to produce sound, a
loudspeaker (including headphones) needs to
produce vibrations. To do this, the
loudspeaker takes an electrical signal, and
converts the signal into magnetism. This
magnetism causes a portion of the loudspeaker to
move back and forth quickly, creating vibrations:
sound waves that you can hear!
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