|What is the highest frequency that most humans can
|Question Date: 2014-09-18|
As you may already know, the SI unit for frequency
is Hertz (Hz); an event that repeats once per
second has a frequency of 1 Hz.
According to most sources, the human
hearing (frequency) range is between 20 Hz and
20,000 Hz (bats can "hear" up to 100,000 Hz!).
What does that mean? Sound is a mechanical wave
that propagates through a medium (air, water), and
the frequency of a sound wave determines its tone
and pitch. For example, the middle-C note on a
standard 88-key piano has a frequency of
approximately 261.6 Hz.
Below is a link to a website with a frequency
test (from 22,000 Hz to 8,000 Hz) -- try it out!
Note: they use "kHz" units instead of "Hz" (1 kHz
= 1000 Hz).
So the human ear has the ability to translate
vibrations in molecules (usually air molecules)
into the sensation of sound. A single vibration in
an air molecule can be thought of like a wave
where the molecule goes up, then down then back to
where it started. The frequency is the number of
vibrations in a second and is given the unit
Hertz or Hz. High frequency sounds are
usually shrill like a whistle whereas low
frequency sounds are more like the deep hum of an
amplified bass instrument.
The highest frequency that most humans can
hear is 20,000 cycles per second or 20,000 Hz.
This limit gets lower as humans age. Older people
generally don’t have as large of a hearing range
as younger people. The lowest frequency a human
can hear is only 20 Hz, but we can feel sounds
lower than that such as for an earthquake.
Humans can hear from about 20 - 20,000 Hz, under
normal conditions. In extreme silence this may go
down to as low as 12 Hz. This upper limit of
20,000 Hz drops as you age, however. Adults slowly
lose the ability to hear higher frequencies.
Fun trick: If you have a teacher who is
middle aged or older, you can get cell phone
ringtones that ring at around 20,000Hz. You and
your classmates will be able to hear it, but your
teacher or parents won't. It is a cool biology
Humans can hear frequencies up to 20,000 Hz. Hertz
is the unit for frequency, and it refers to the
number of oscillations of the sound wave in a
second. Check out this cool youtube video that
plays from low frequency (20 Hz) to high frequency
(20,000 Hz) to see how much of it you can hear!
Humans can hear sounds up to about twenty
kilo-Hertz (20,000 Hz).
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