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Purves D, Augustine GJ, Fitzpatrick D, et al., editors. Neuroscience. 2nd edition. Sunderland (MA): Sinauer Associates; 2001.

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Neuroscience. 2nd edition.

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The Audible Spectrum

Humans can detect sounds in a frequency range from about 20 Hz to 20 kHz. (Human infants can actually hear frequencies slightly higher than 20 kHz, but lose some high-frequency sensitivity as they mature; the upper limit in average adults is often closer to 15–17 kHz.) Not all mammalian species are sensitive to the same range of frequencies. Most small mammals are sensitive to very high frequencies, but not to low frequencies. For instance, some species of bats are sensitive to tones as high as 200 kHz, but their lower limit is around 20 kHz—the upper limit for young people with normal hearing. One reason for these differences is that small objects, including the auditory structures of these small mammals, are better resonators for high frequencies, whereas large objects are better for low frequencies (which also explains why the violin has a higher pitch than the cello).

By agreement with the publisher, this book is accessible by the search feature, but cannot be browsed.

Copyright © 2001, Sinauer Associates, Inc.
Bookshelf ID: NBK10924

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