How accurately can the ear distinguish frequencies?

Asked by: Tiffany Scott

Over a range of frequencies (approximately 500 to 4000 Hz) and levels (approximately 35 to 80 dB SPL) in which humans are most sensitive, listeners can discriminate a change of about one decibel in sound level and about a half of a percent change in tonal frequency.

How does the ear distinguish between different frequencies?

The human ear can detect a wide range of frequencies, from the low rumbles of distant thunder to the high-pitched whine of a mosquito. The sensory cells that detect these sounds are called hair cells, named for the hair-like strands that cluster on their tops.

Does the human ear have a frequency resolution?

The human ear can respond to minute pressure variations in the air if they are in the audible frequency range, roughly 20 Hz – 20 kHz. It is capable of detecting pressure variations of less than one billionth of atmospheric pressure.

How does the human ear interpret frequency?

Frequency Theory (Rutherford, 1886) holds that pitch perception corresponds to the rate of vibration of all receptive cells along the inner ear membrane. For example, a sound of frequency 2000 Hz would cause the whole membrane to vibrate at a rate of 2000 Hz.

What frequency does human ear not detect?

Human ear perceives frequencies between 20 Hz (lowest pitch) to 20 kHz (highest pitch). All sounds below 20 Hz are qualified as infrasounds, althought some animals (ex. mole-rat, or elephant) are hearing them.

How many frequency does an ear can perceive?

Humans can detect sounds in a frequency range from about 20 Hz to 20 kHz. (Human infants can actually hear frequencies slightly higher than 20 kHz, but lose some high-frequency sensitivity as they mature; the upper limit in average adults is often closer to 15–17 kHz.)

How many sounds can the human ear distinguish?

The maximum number of frequencies a human ear is able to distinguish is 330,000 frequencies. These frequencies range from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz.

How do we perceive frequency?

As with light waves, we detect both the wavelength and the amplitude of sound waves. The wavelength of the sound wave (known as frequency) is measured in terms of the number of waves that arrive per second and determines our perception of pitch, the perceived frequency of a sound.

Is the human ear more sensitive to high or low frequency?

Under ideal laboratory conditions, humans can hear sound as low as 12 Hz and as high as 28 kHz, though the threshold increases sharply at 15 kHz in adults, corresponding to the last auditory channel of the cochlea. The human auditory system is most sensitive to frequencies between 2,000 and 5,000 Hz.

How many orders of magnitude does human hearing typically span in frequency?

Human Perception of Sound:
* The human ear responds to disturbances/temporal variations in pressure. Amazingly sensitive! It has more than 6 orders of magnitude in dynamic range of pressure sensitivity (12 orders of magnitude in sound intensity, I ∝ p2) and 3 orders of magnitude in frequency (20 Hz – 20 KHz)!

Can humans hear 20000 Hz?

The ‘normal’ hearing frequency range of a healthy young person is about 20 to 20,000Hz. Though a ‘normal’ audible range for loudness is from 0 to 180dB, anything over 85dB is considered damaging, so we should try not to go there.

What do you called the vibrational frequencies beyond 20 000 Hz?


Humans with normal hearing can hear sounds between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz. Frequencies above 20,000 Hz are known as ultrasound.

Why can humans only hear certain frequencies?

The cochlea is only stimulated by a limited range of frequencies. This means that humans can only hear certain frequencies. The range of normal human hearing is 20 Hertz (Hz) to 20,000 Hz (20 kHz). The hairs in the human cochlea have different lengths and vibrate at different frequencies of sound.

Why can humans only hear up to 20000 Hz?

Our ears possess minuscule hair cells that help essentially “grab” sound waves that our ear later processes into intelligible sounds. Unfortunately, these small hair cells do not regrow even when they’re damaged or die. This loss of hair results in a lessened ability to hear higher frequency ranges over time.

What is the highest frequency a human has ever heard?


That’s about the same as the lowest pedal on a pipe organ. On the other side of the human hearing range, the highest possible frequency heard without discomfort is 20,000Hz. While 20 to 20,000Hz forms the absolute borders of the human hearing range, our hearing is most sensitive in the 2000 – 5000 Hz frequency range.

What is the highest frequency a human can make?

The human ear can hear frequencies up to 20kHz but we can’t scream higher than 3kHz or so. The bottom end of our hearing range is 20Hz, which is still just below the deepest notes that most of us normally make (around 85Hz).

Can a human hear 25000 Hertz?

Almost certainly not. The threshold of human hearing, even amongst the youngest, keenest ears, is about 20kHz (20,000Hz). 25,000Hz is into the ultrasound that echo-locating insectivorous bats use!

What frequency do humans vibrate at?

about 7.5 Hz

Human Vibration Parameter Comparison and Result Discussion. According to the existing research, the natural frequency of a human-standing body is about 7.5 Hz, and the frequency of a sitting posture in the cab is generally 4–6 Hz.