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Can a human produce a sound outside the human audible range? © Getty Images

Can a human produce a sound outside the human audible range?

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The sound frequency at which a human can hear ranges between 20Hz to 20kHz.

Asked by: Andrew Dalton-Gill, Bransgore


The hearing range of nearly all mammals is wider than the frequency range they can produce with their voices. This is because the top end of our hearing range has evolved to help us accurately detect the direction of a sound. The ear facing away from the sound hears less of the higher frequencies because they are absorbed by your skull.

The human ear can hear frequencies up to 20kHz but we can’t scream higher than 3kHz or so. The bottom end of our hearing range is 20Hz, which is still just below the deepest notes that most of us normally make (around 85Hz). But a few individuals have managed to go much deeper. The world’s deepest voice belongs to US singer Tim Storms, who can sing a note at 0.189Hz, or eight octaves below the lowest G note on piano! A note this low can’t be heard, only felt.

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luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.


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