Science Project:

Sound Physics: The Difference Between Sound and Noise

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Problem

What is the difference between sound and noise?

Discover any trends in what is considered sound or noise in different groups of people you know.Do older people find more things noisy than kids? What about the other way around? Do women or men find more things noisy?

Materials

  • Notebook and pen or pencil
  • Computer and printer

Procedure

  1. Take note of all the different sounds you hear in a day. It can include anything! Examples are typing, car horns, wheels screeching, music, doorbell etc.
  2. Create a survey on your computer at home. Have the survey taker include his or her age and gender.Each question the survey should list a sound you heard on your day of observation. Have the survey taker classify that sound as a “pleasant sound” or “noise.”
  3. Organize your data. Are their trends in your responses?

Results

Your results will vary, depending on who you ask!

Why?

Though the classification of something considered musical sound or noise is up to the listener, it is more common that older people will consider more sounds to be "noise." Human hearing deteriorates over the course of a lifetime, and extremely high and low frequencies are lost first. This is why even young adults sometimes cannot hear high pitched buzzing noises. Later in life, hearing of conversational frequencies deteriorates. Because these are in the mid-range of our hearing, losing specific ranges of sound can cause the listener to be more perceptive to smaller-scaleirregularities and interpret it as noise.

Author: Erin Bjornsson
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