Let’s begin our discussion with some very simple and basic concepts about sound.
First, it’s currently understood as being a wave. Usually, this wave manifests as moving air, which takes the vibrations of an object and causes them to travel.
This wave of sound strikes our eardrums and goes through the most extraordinary bio-acoustic process in which it’s first transformed into chemical form and then into electrical impulses as it travels through our brain.
Sound waves are measured in cycles per second. Scientifically, these cyclical wave measurements are called hertz and are abbreviated as Hz.
The measurement of a sound is called its frequency. One cycle per second is written as 1 Hz. Extremely slow waves create very deep, bass sounds; extremely fast ones create very high, treble sounds. The lowest note on a piano is around 24 waves per second (24 Hz), and the highest is just over 4,000 (4,186 Hz, to be exact).
We have the ability to hear from around 16 Hz to around 16,000 Hz. These numbers, of course, aren’t constant, particularly the upper measurements of our ability to hear.
Young children are said to be able to hear upward of 20,000 Hz, but as we grow older and our exposure to loud sounds increases, our range decreases.
Sounds below our threshold of hearing are often called infra-sound, while those above our audible range are referred to as ultrasound.
An interesting experiment involves a frequency generator (a scientific device that creates specific sounds), which is used to demonstrate our range of hearing.
In the Multi sensory Sound Lab saying, “Now, this is a frequency of 12,000 Hz.
How many of you can hear it?” And everybody in the room, both children and parents, raised their hands.
The instructor continued: “13,000 H2?” All of us kept our hands up.
“14,000 Hz?” A few of the more elderly in the room dropped their hands.
“15,000 Hz?” More adult hands were lowered.
“16,000 H2?” Still more hands dropped.
“17,000 Hz?” the instructor asked.
And just kids were able to hear that. They were nodded his head and smiled.
From then on, until the instructor stopped demonstrating at 20,000 Hz, all the younger children continued with their hands up in the air. Nobody anyone else in the room who had reached beyond their teenage years was able to hear.
Just because we can’t hear something doesn’t mean that there isn’t a sound.
It’s that simple!
Our cetacean friends in the ocean, the dolphins, can receive and project frequencies upward of 180,000 Hz. That’s nearly ten times our highest level of hearing. When these sea creatures communicate, they exchange many levels of information at extraordinarily high rates of speed.
To us, there’s nothing happening, but to these dolphins, they may be sharing tuna haute cuisine with each other- or perhaps the best route through the Gibilterra Strait!
To repeat: Just because we can’t hear something doesn’t mean there isn’t anything there.
There were people who claimed all sorts of sensitivity to sound , those who could hear the sound of an electric current running through a house or that of a seemingly silent lamp as it burned bright.
Some other could hear different frequencies coming from various quartz crystals, while another could pick up on actual tones emitted by the body. T heard nothing, but that doesn’t mean that these sounds weren’t there.
As the ancient mystics declared, “Everything is sound!”
From the electrons moving around the nucleus of an atom to the planets in distant galaxies revolving around stars, everything is in state of vibration–and therefore, conceptually at least, everything is creating a sound. Whether or not we can hear these sounds is another story.