terms & definitions
The Science of Sound.
Test room whose surfaces absorb all sound. Note – The word anechoic is derived from the Greek words meaning without echo.
Also called the vestibulocochlear nerve or acoustic nerve. Acts like a telephone line to the brain. The electrical signals generated by the hair cells are sent to the brain by this nerve.
Ear wax – Ear wax protects our ear canal and smells bad to bugs.
A way for a musician to modify the musical instrument to affect the sound it produces. Musical instruments, including the voice, allow musicians to change pitch, loudness and even the tone color to some degree. For example, a trumpet can play the same note loud, brassy, and bright, or softer with a mellow tone
Dissipation of energy with time or distance.
A measure of how loud sounds are or sound intensity (abbreviation for decibel).
A room with a relatively large amount of sound absorption and relatively short reverberation time.
Also called Cerumen. Ear wax protects our ear canal and smells bad to bugs.
A method used to detect objects by producing a specific sound and listening for its echo.
The ability to do work (to move an object a distance.)
Connects the middle ear to the throat. It’s normally closed. When you pop your ears, this tube opens up to let air in or out.
EXTERNAL AUDITORY CANAL
The number of times a vibrating object oscillates (moves back and forth) in one second. Fast movements produce high frequency sound (high pitch/tone), but slow movements mean the frequency (pitch/tone) is low.
A bundle of stereocilia on top of each hair cell – sound vibrations from the stapes or stirrup bone move the fluid inside the inner ear which moves the hair bundles. The hair cells in turn signal the auditory nerve.
A measure of frequency. The number of oscillations (back and forth movements) per second.
A complex structure of interconnected fluid-filled chambers and canals within the bone of the skull – One portion of the inner ear is not involved in hearing, but instead provides a sense of balance. The other portion of the inner ear, called the cochlea, is the organ of hearing.
The interconnected fluid-filled chambers of the inner ear.
Often called the ‘voice box,’ it is located at the top of the windpipe at the lower end of the throat. It is made up of muscles, membranes and cartilages, and contains the vocal folds (vocal cords).
A device that changes sound waves into electric signals.
Undesired sound. Or random vibrations.
ORGAN OF CORTI
ORGAN OF HEARING
Back and forth movement that repeats regularly between two fixed positions.
Three bones found in the ears of all mammals (the malleus, the incus and the stapes or hammer, anvil and stirrup). These bones are the smallest bones in a person’s body and they act like a system of levers.
How high or low a tone sounds to a person. High frequency sound has a high pitch or tone (treble notes), but low frequency has a low/deep pitch or tone (bass notes). High sounds are usually above 2000 Hertz and low below 200 Hertz.
Bouncing back of wave energy such as light or sound. – when a wave reaches a new material part or all is reflected.
A room that is designed to cause even distribution of the sound field. Reverberation rooms often have very hard exposed surfaces that are not parallel.
How strongly an organ or living thing reacts to something. For example, the ears are sensitive to sound while the eyes are sensitive to light.
Sound Navigation And Ranging, is the process of listening to specific sounds to determine where objects are located. In active SONAR, a sound is transmitted and the listener uses its echo to locate objects. In passive SONAR, the listener uses the sounds emitted directly from the source of the sounds.
The concentration of sound to levels harmful to the natural environment (including humans).
Whatever object makes the sound. All of these are sources of sound: two hands clapping together, a person speaking or singing, a submarine echolocating, a radio playing, birds chirping, ocean waves crashing on the beach.
Vibrations of air molecules that travel through air carrying energy with them. Sound waves can also travel through water and solids, but cannot travel in space where there are no molecules to vibrate. When sound travels through air, the molecules do not actually move to a new location, instead each set of molecules “bumps” the molecules next to it, progressively transferring motion to new sets of molecules farther and farther away from the sound source until the wave motion dies out. Play with the “Sound” tab on this simulation to see sound travel through air.
SPEED OF SOUND
The speed at which sound travels. This is very important for scientists who study sound. In air sound travels 343 meters in 1 second (767 miles per hour), but in water sound travels 1500 meters in 1 second (3350 miles per hour). Compare these speeds to cars traveling on the highway at 65 miles per hour.
Small finger-like or hair-like projections from the top of each hair cell in the inner ear – also see hair bundle. Sound vibrations from the stapes or stirrup bone move the fluid inside the inner ear which moves the hair bundles. The hair cells in turn signal the auditory nerve.
Ringing or other sounds in your ears or head that only you can hear.
A special instrument used for producing a specific tone (frequency) when the fork is struck
Also called the auditory nerve or acoustic nerve. Acts like a telephone line to the brain. The electrical signals generated by the hair cells are sent to the brain by this nerve.
Oscillation – a shaking back and forth movement
Often called the ‘vocal cords’, are made up of two membranes on the sides of our larynx (voice box). We talk by squeezing them close together as the lungs push air between them causing them to vibrate.
A moving disturbance that transfers energy. The substance the wave moves through does not travel with the energy.