The ear can detect a sound wave so small it moves the eardrum just one angstrom...

Discussion in 'Currawong' started by currawong, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. Currawong Contributor
    I've been searching for this post for a while. The links make good food for thought.
     
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  2. IPodPJ
    Good info and makes perfect sense.  Most people can hear the faint ringing sounds of air molecules rubbing against their eardrums.  Hi-Fi has a long way to go until it can develop headphones with drivers that match the sensitivity and precision of our eardrums and inner ear.
     
    One day we will be saying, "Magnets that moved a diaphragm? So primitive."
     
  3. LFF

     
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    This is what has always caught my eye....anyone care to venture a guess as to what frequency this is?

    Anyway, a lot of this has been known for quite some time and human hearing, if properly trained, is an amazing thing. If you ever want to experience something very trippy, step inside an anechoic chamber and have them turn off the lights. I swear you will be able to hear your heart pumping and you will hear the blood going through your ears. It's a very eerie or should I say "ear-y" experience. You also become slight disoriented...at least I did. I had to sit down.
     
    Cool post!
     
    On average, our most sensitive frequency is 3kHz or 3,000Hz.
     
     
  4. NA Blur
    If the eardrum moves fast enough at 1 Angstrom, I wonder if it could produce radiation.
     
  5. project86 Contributor
    Enjoyable read, thanks for posting it. The human body is indeed an amazing machine. It's always good to remember that.
     
  6. Steve Eddy


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    And that's precisely what makes the post so misleading and ultimately rather pointless.
     
    Yes, our ears are very sensitive and can detect sounds down to the thermal noise limit of the air itself.
     
    But...
     
    It can only do this under the right conditions, such as inside an anechoic chamber and after you've sat quietly and allowed your ears to acclimate.
     
    In other words, you can't perceive air molecules banging against your eardrums while you're listening to music at 90+dB SPL. For that matter, you can't do it even while sitting in a quiet home out in the country. The ambient noise is simply too high.
     
    se
     
     
  7. Currawong Contributor
    That raises a very good point. Lately all my headphones have been models with very low isolation (or essentially zero in case of the Stax), so ideally I'll listen with my door and window shut and everything that makes even the slightest noise (such as external hard disk drives) switched off. I understand why people set up studios with considerable sound-deadening foam and the like.  It definitely raises many questions about our own hearing ability and how far we can take it as well as where we focus our priorities when buying equipment to improve our listening experience.
     
  8. Br777
    ^ exactly.
     
    like this part -
     
    There also seems to be a number prejudice, ie. when someone sees .1 % THD or even .01 or .001 % THD those that know nothing about human hearing assume that those numbers are so small they must be insignificant.
     
    I wish i could find that online test that shows you just how bad people are at detecting THD, and other common differences in sound.
     
  9. LFF


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  10. Guidostrunk
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  11. Hennyo


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    I've done this! It was awesome being in there in the dark.. ([​IMG]) The sound engineering dpt at Virginia Tech students showed me their playrooms / systems and gigs!
     
     
  12. khaos974
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    There is a blind test for THD online, however, I can't find it at the moment.
    Just one thing, transducers that have less than 0.1% distortion, even only  in the frequency band we are most sensitive (3000 to 5000 Hz are exceedingly rare).
     
  13. TigzStudio
    Good read. 
     
    hahah.
    "Loss of hair cells is permanent. ("You have all the hair cells you'll ever have at birth," says Young.) It mainly affects soft sounds and high frequencies, the range where women and children tend to speak."
     
     
    However it has already been found that you can regenerate cochlear hair cells by deleting or inhibiting a certain gene, so there is hope for future old folk.  
     
    But regardless you can't deny that aging degrades hearing (in addition to everything else that degrades with aging). 
     
    Enjoying every second of my youthful hearing until that day comes (hopefully at which point something new will be around to fix it)! 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
  14. Mochan


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    Key word there being "theoretical." All of this is just the same number-crunching hogwash that the post condemns audio electronics snobs for.
     
    Can someone say "irony" and "double standards?"
     
     
    You can't hear chalk drop in the next room, much less an airport many kilometers away. This is just theoretical mumbo jumbo that never happens in real day to day life.
     
    sridhar3 likes this.
  15. Reticuli2
    And let's just come out and admit it...
     
     it's pretty safe to say that even under the best circumstances, no one on this forum has any of these extreme abilities any more :wink:
     

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