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Ask an Audiologist...

Do sound waves carry the vibrations from a sound into the eardrum?

Do loud noises make you tired? People seem so pumped at concert. Do higher pitches have a louder sound?

Is a fast attack louder than a slow attack (how the sound is initiated)? Does the rate of decay have an effect on someone’s version of “too loud?”

Which is louder? A loud sound or loud music?

Audiologist Response...

Yes, sound waves do carry sounds to the eardrum. Once the sounds hit the eardrum, it begins to vibrate and in turn, vibrates a chain of small bones called the ossicles. The ossicles pass the vibration onto the cochlea and the fluid inside the cochlea begins to vibrate. The auditory nerve, which is attached to the cochlea, brings the information up the auditory cortex to the brain.

I wouldn't say that loud sounds make you tired, per say. One may argue that they find listening to loud sounds as being exhausting, but there is no empirical research to suggest this.

Higher pitches do not have a louder sound. Pitch and amplitude (volume) are two different characteristics of sound. Low frequencies actually tend to be higher in volume because of their longer wavelength.

Sound is measured by a sound level meter. Depending on the sound that is measured, a loud sound could be louder than music and vice versa.

Hope this helps!

Best regards,

Tracy Saunders, M.Cl.Sc., Reg. CASLPO

Tracy Saunders is a registered Audiologist with the College of Audiologists and Speech Language Pathologists of Ontario. She holds a Master's Degree in Audiology from the University of Western Ontario and an Honours Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto. Tracy is currently working as an Audiologist and Trainer at Hearing Solutions.

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