25 Randomly Cool Facts About Sound (You Won’t Believe Your Ears!)

Posted by , Updated on December 13, 2017


Of our many senses, the ability to hear sound has got to be one of the best. Whether we’re listening to a beautiful arrangement of music or hearing the roar of a car as it speeds by, sound helps us enjoy the beauty of nature and keeps us safe from impending doom. But there’s so much more to sound than our own sense of hearing. For instance, some animals like dolphins use it to get information about the world around them using echolocation. Curious to hear more about sound? Here are 25 Randomly Cool Facts About Sound (You Won’t Believe Your Ears!)


The bones of the middle ear - the hammer, anvil, and stirrup - help transform pressure waves into mechanical vibrations.

middle earSource: http://www.physicsclassroom.com/mmedia/waves/edl.cfm

Alarm systems transmit sound at around 1 to 3 kHz. That frequency range is both very sensitive for human ears and creates a black spot for our sound location ability.

home alarmSource: http://www.physics.org/featuredetail.asp?id=75

Musical sounds are uniform vibrations, while noises are irregular vibrations. Musical sounds distinguish themselves through pitch, loudness, intensity, quality, and timbre.

synthSource: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science-and-technology/physics/physics/sound

The speed of sound is about 1,130 feet per second in dry air at 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

machSource: http://www.bluebulbprojects.com/measureofthings/results.php?comp=speed&unit=fts&amt=1130&sort=pr&p=1

A healthy young human ear can hear all frequencies from 20 to 20,000 hertz.

EarSource: https://hypertextbook.com/facts/2003/ChrisDAmbrose.shtml


In contrast, a dolphin can hear and produce sounds up to 150 kHz which is 150,000 hertz. This means that there are several sounds dolphins make that humans can't even hear. They use different sounds regularly for echolocation.

Dark_DolphinSource: http://www.dolphincommunicationproject.org/index.php/the-latest-buzz/field-reports/bahamas-3/bahamas-2000/item/93032-how-well-can-dolphins-hear

People who have Superior Canal Dehiscence can experience a symptom where they hear their body sounds at high levels, including hearing their own eye movements.

Cochlear_implantSource: https://www.asha.org/PRPSpecificTopic.aspx?folderid=8589934662§ion=Signs_and_Symptoms

Due to the Doppler Effect, a musical piece traveling twice the speed of sound would be in correct time and tune but only backwards.

doppler effectSource: https://www.reddit.com/r/todayilearned/comments/2mggku/til_that_due_to_the_doppler_effect_a_musical/

Whether it's an orchestra or a heavy metal band playing music at 120 dB, both will undoubtedly damage your hearing.

orchestraSource: https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/fun-sound-facts/

Since particles are closer together in water than air, sound can travel four times faster in water.

waterSource: https://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/resources/572-sound-on-the-move

Horror filmmakers use infrared sound to induce anxiety, sorrow, and even heart palpitations.

draculaSource: http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/0/24083243

People hate the sound of their own voice on a recording because we hear ourselves differently in our own heads.

voiceSource: http://time.com/4820247/voice-vocal-cords/

Active noise-cancelling headphones use destructive interference to cancel out incoming sound, erasing the sound waves altogether.

headphonesSource: https://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/audio-music/noise-canceling-headphone3.htm

If you clap in front of Chichen Itza's El Castillo pyramid, the echo will sound like a chirping bird.

Chichen_Itza_El_CastilloSource: https://www.reddit.com/r/todayilearned/comments/2piehv/til_that_if_you_clap_your_hands_in_front_of/?ref=search_posts

Old television remotes used an aluminum rod and a hammer to make a sound above human hearing to change the channel or the volume.

zenithSource: http://www.pushclicktouch.com/blog/?p=107

Astronomers located a black hole 250 million light years away by making a B Flat note 57 octaves below middle C.

Black_Hole_MilkywaySource: https://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/universe/black_hole_sound.html

A British scientists discovered elephants are terrified of bee sounds and will flee when they hear them.

elephantsSource: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-15836079

It's estimated that making a sound at 1,100 decibels would completely destroy the universe in a black hole.

universeSource: https://curiosity.com/topics/at-this-many-decibels-a-sound-would-destroy-the-universe-curiosity/

Because electric cars are very quiet, they are required to have artificial sounds for safety reasons.

electric carSource: https://www.theverge.com/2016/11/16/13651106/electric-car-noise-nhtsa-rule-blind-pedestrian-safety

Sound can't travel through space because there aren't any molecules to vibrate.

spaceSource: http://www.qrg.northwestern.edu/projects/vss/docs/space-environment/1-is-there-sound-in-space.html

In 1883, a volcanic eruption on the island of Krakatoa produced sound which shattered windows, shook homes, and were reported to be heard 160km away from the explosion. The atmospheric shock waves it created traveled 7 times around the Earth before it dissipated.

krakatoaSource: http://volcano.oregonstate.edu/historical-eruption-sounds

Pistol Shrimp produce an extremely loud pop to stun their prey. The pop sound reaches 218 decibels which is louder than a gun shot.

pistol shrimpSource: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1085398/Deadly-pistol-shrimp-stuns-prey-sound-loud-Concorde-UK-waters.html

Blue whales can make deep sounds up to 188 decibels and can be heard 500 miles away.

humpback whaleSource: https://www.coolantarctica.com/Antarctica%20fact%20file/wildlife/whales/blue_whale.htm

Research in psychoacoustics helps us understand how sound affects our psychology and nervous system.

psychoacousticsSource: http://thepowerofsound.net/psychoacoustics-defined/

Even if you aren't recording sound on a video recording, researchers at MIT found they can recreate a voice solely by the small vibrations of the things in the video recording.

cameraSource: http://www.theskepticsguide.org/the-video-microphone-is-your-candy-wrapper-tattling-on-you

Photo: feature: shutterstock, 25. BruceBlaus. When using this image in external sources it can be cited as: Blausen.com staff (2014). “Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014“. WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436., Blausen 0330 EarAnatomy MiddleEar, CC BY 3.0, 24. I, BrokenSphere, Honeywell home alarm, CC BY-SA 3.0, 23. Pixabay.com (Public Domain), 22. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 21. David Benbennick, Ear, CC BY-SA 3.0, 20. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 19. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 18. Zappys Technology Soluti via flickr. CC BY 2.0, 17. MITO SettembreMusica, MITO Orchestra Sinfonica RAI, CC BY 2.0, 16. PublicDomainPictures.net (Public Domain), 15. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 14. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 13. Gamer112 at en.wikipedia, TDK ST-200, CC BY 3.0, 12. Elelicht, Chichen Itza El Castillo, CC BY-SA 3.0, 11. Todd Ehlers, Zenith Space Command, CC BY-SA 2.0, 10. Deutsch: Ute Kraus, Physikdidaktik Ute Kraus, Universität Hildesheim, Tempolimit Lichtgeschwindigkeit, (Milchstraßenpanorama im Hintergrund: Axel Mellinger) English: Ute Kraus, Physics education group Kraus, Universität Hildesheim, Space Time Travel, (background image of the milky way: Axel Mellinger), Black Hole Milkyway, CC BY-SA 2.5, 9. MaxPixel.com (Public Domain), 8. Pexels.com (Public Domain), 7. Ludovic Hirlimann, Electric car charging Amsterdam, CC BY-SA 2.0, 6. Pixabay.com (Public Domain), 5. WIkipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 4. Anker A, Grave S, Alpheus cedrici holotype, dorsal view – ZooKeys-183-001-g003A, CC BY 3.0, 3. Pixabay.com (Public Domain), 2. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 1. Pixabay.com (Public Domain)

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