The human ear can detect a wide range of frequencies (approximately 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz). The Hertz (Hz) is the unit of frequency and is defined as one cycle per second (cps). Humans perceive frequency of sound waves as pitch. An infant’s ear is able to perceive frequencies ranging from 20Hz to 20,000 Hz while the average adult human can hear sounds between 20Hz and 16,000Hz.
Many things affect our hearing. Change in frequency can stimulate a reaction dependant on age, gender and species. Teenagers can hear frequencies of up to 17,400Hz and those over 50 will find it difficult hearing 12,000 Hz or more.
Have a try yourself;
Although we have the ability to hear frequencies between 20Hz to 20,000Hz, there are individual differences that may make a person hear the same sound very differently for example; health issues, age and sounds they are regularly exposed to.
The tolerance levels in sound differ between males and females and the average woman’s comfort level is about 8db (decibels) lower than men.
There is a theory to explain why women’s ears are more sensitive than men. It is believed that as women have been in charge of their babies for centuries, a woman’s brain is programmed to hear a baby crying. Womens ears are more sensitive to sharp sounds and can distinguish different sounds as a way to understand her childs cry. On the other hand, a man is able to know where a sound is coming from with increased spatial sense and guidance.
In regards to pleasant and unpleasant sounds it seems that both men and women agree.
Pleasant sounds give us a sense of happiness, nostalgia, satisfaction and a range of other emotions. Try to think of a sound you enjoy and if you can’t here are a couple you could listen to;
• Ocean waves
• Orca calls
• Familiar sounds from home
• Fireplace crackling
• Children’s laughter
Whilst pleasant sounds cause happiness and satisfaction, unpleasant sounds cause discomfort, unhappiness and revulsion. Some of the most disliked sounds include;
• Something that might be startling, such as thunder, a glass breaking, or a siren
If there is a sound that people find unpleasant, they can avoid hearing them and focus their attention on a specific source through selective hearing. The sounds and noise in the surrounding environment are heard by the auditory system but only certain parts of this system are processed by the brain. It is not considered a psychological disorder but a capability in humans to block out selected sounds.
The sounds and noise in the surrounding environment are heard by the auditory system but only certain parts of the auditory information are processed in the brain. It is not considered as a physiological disorder, just the capability of humans to block out sounds and noises.
In conclusion, I have to say that there are many differences in every person to bear in mind when we talk about the differences in hearing. The age, the gender, illnesses or other causes can cause that you hear different to others.
To conclude; there are many things to factor in when considering the differences between hearing in men and women but it is seems that hearing is relevant to the individuals health, age and lives as well as their gender.