Psychoacoustics is the study of how we hear.  The literal sound waves are interpreted in different ways before our brain hears themThere are only two forces in the world, the sword and the spirit. In the long run, the sword will always be conquered by the spirit. - Napoleon Bonaparte
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When we hear something, it first arrives as a mechanical sound wave. But that is not what our brain "hears." The sound wave is transformed into nerve pulses which our brain perceives.

Our perception of sound is somewhat limited. When two sounds are made, which are close to the same frequency, we are unable to detect the difference. If two sounds are made with greatly differing amplitudes, we often cannot detect the lower volume sound. For example, if you are talking to someone on the sidewalk and an ambulance drives past with its siren on, you will not be able to hear the other person talking, even though they may actually be speaking.



The process of masking is when our brain tunes out certain sounds. When we are in a crowded room with many people talking and other noises, we are able to easily hold a conversation with someone because our brain ignores the extraneous sounds. That is not true with hearing aids. Consequently, a common complaint about them is that they pick up and amplify all sounds, indiscriminately.

Masking and MP3

MP3 is a form of digital audio encoding which allows for much smaller files. Those sounds which are determined to be inaudible to most people are reduced in accuracy. The sounds we can hear are then reproduced efficiently. Although, technically, an MP3 recording is not an accurate reproduction of the original, what we perceive sounds as though it is.



Longitudinal Wavelength Sound Waves Pitch and Frequency Speed of Sound Doppler Effect Sound Intensity and Decibels Sound Wave Interference Beat Frequencies Binaural Beat Frequencies Sound Resonance and Natural Resonant Frequency Natural Resonance Quality (Q) Forced Vibration Frequency Entrainment Vibrational Modes Standing Waves Law of Octaves Psychoacoustics Tacoma Narrows Bridge Schumann Resonance Animal BioAcoustics More on Sound


Law Of Octaves Sound Harmonics Western Musical Chords Musical Scales Musical Intervals Musical Mathematical Terminology Music of the Spheres Fibonacci Sequence Circle of Fifths Pythagorean Comma


Drum Vibrational Modes


Aristotle Copernicus Einstein Fibonacci Hermann von Helmholtz Kepler Sir Isaac Newton Max Planck Ptolemy Pythagoras Thomas Young
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Understanding the Physics of Sound
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