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sound of psience

Humans perceive sound by the sense of hearing. By sound, we commonly mean the vibrations that travel through air and can be heard by humans. However, scientists and engineers use a wider definition of sound that includes low and high frequency vibrations in air that cannot be heard by humans, and vibrations that travel through all forms of matter, gases, liquids and solids. Sound can also be perceived by many other animals and is also used for echo location.

The matter that supports the sound is called the medium. Sound propagates as waves of alternating pressure, causing local regions of compression and rarefaction. Particles in the medium are displaced by the wave and oscillate. The scientific study of sound is called acoustics while that underwater is called hydroacoustics.

Noise is often used to refer to an unwanted sound. In science and engineering, noise is an undesirable component that obscures a wanted signal.

perception of sound

Sound is perceived through the sense of hearing. Humans and many animals use their ears to hear sound, but loud sounds and low-frequency sounds can be perceived by other parts of the body through the sense of touch as vibrations. Sounds are used in several ways, notably for communication through speech and music. They can also be used to acquire information about properties of the surrounding environment such as spatial characteristics and presence of other animals or objects. For example, bats use echolocation, ships and submarines use sonar and humans can determine spatial information by the way in which they perceive sounds.

Humans can generally hear sounds with frequencies between 20 Hz and 20 kHz (the audio range) although this range varies significantly with age, occupational hearing damage, and gender; the majority of people can no longer hear 20,000 Hz by the time they are teenagers, and progressively lose the ability to hear higher frequencies as they get older. Most human speech communication takes place between 200 and 8,000 Hz and the human ear is most sensitive to frequencies around 1000-3,500 Hz. Sound above the hearing range is known as ultrasound, and that below the hearing range as infrasound.

The amplitude of a sound wave is specified in terms of its pressure. The human ear can detect sounds with a very wide range of amplitudes and so a logarithmic decibel amplitude scale is used. The quietest sounds that humans can hear have an amplitude of approximately 20 µPa (micropascals) or a sound pressure level (SPL) of 0 dB re 20 µPa (often incorrectly abbreviated as 0 dB SPL). Prolonged exposure to a sound pressure level exceeding 85 dB can permanently damage the ear, resulting in tinnitus and hearing impairment. Sound levels in excess of 130 dB are more than the human ear can safely withstand and can result in serious pain and permanent damage. At very high amplitudes, sound waves exhibit nonlinear effects, including shock.