Hearing Blog

What is Sound?

Published 15/11/2016
Last Updated 22/10/2020

Everyone has heard the term ‘sound waves’. This is actually how we hear.
Sound is caused by vibrating air (particles). These vibrations move through the air as sound waves.

A good example is when the wind blows the leaves on a tree – their movement forces the air particles to vibrate. These sound waves are sent through the air to your ear causing your ear drum to move.

Your ear converts ear drum movements into electrical signals, then they are translated by your brain into meaningful sound.

You hear with your ears, but listen with your brain.

Sound is determined by the speed of the vibrations, known as frequency.

Slow vibrations (low frequency) are heard as deep tones, such as thunder, while fast vibrations (high frequency) are heard as high tones, such as birds chirping.

With the nature of hearing loss, the first sounds to go are usually high frequency sounds. This is why you might struggle to hear a mobile phone ring, the voice of a grandchild or leaves rustling.

If you think you might be experiencing hearing loss, take our 5 minute online hearing test here.

bloom™ hearing specialist, Melissa Chandler, spoke to Everyday Health about how we hear: