Children and young adults can hear over a range from about 20 to 20,000 Hz (Yost, 2007). As we get into our late 20s and beyond, we lose much of our hearing in the highest range. By the time one is 40 years old, it is unlikely that frequencies above 14,000 Hz are heard. By the time one is 50 years old, this upper limit may be down to 12,000 Hz.
Howerver, even with in the range of frequencies we can hear we are not equally sensitive to all of them. We are most sensitive to frequencies from about 2000 to 4000 Hz. This finding is similar to how we are more senstive to some wavelengths of light than others.
In this illustration, you can perform a very simple experiment to determine your sensitive to different frequencies of sound.
To see the illustration in full screen, which is recommended, press the Full Screen button, which appears at the top of the page.
Below is a list of the ways that you can alter the illustration. The settings include the following:
Play: start will start a series of tones from the loudest and then
decreasing by 5 dB each step. Your job is to count how many you hear.
Adjust: Plays a standard tone for you to adjust your system to
as standard intensity to get better data.
When the adjust button has been played it then says Done and the following control appears:
Adjust intensity until you can just hear the tone: Use this slider to adjust the tone that is playing until you can just hear it. Then press Done.
Frequency (Hz): select the frequency of the tones to be played in the series.
After a series has been played the following control will appear:
Steps: select the number of steps you heard. The value will be converted to dB and entered on the bar graph.
Pressing this button restores the settings to their default values.