Feb
21

We hear music differently as we age.

By
Inner Ear Hair Cells

Electron Microscope view of hair cells embedded in the basilar membrane of the inner ear

As we age, even the little hairs in our inner ear lose some of their function which means we begin to lose our hearing in the very high frequency ranges and even some of the low frequency ranges.

The average range of hearing for children is from a low of 20 Hz to a high of 20 kHz. By the time a person hits the age of 20, years of attending loud concerts may already have killed off the ‘high tones’. Studies show that the high range for an average young adult is about 16,000 Hertz (16 kHz). In another 10 years, a 30-year-old is often down to a mere 12,000 Hertz (12 kHz). Such a person would simply not be able to detect the presence of, say, a 14 kHz squeal in an audio track.

Loss of hearing as a result of the aging process is called presbycusis. The process involves degeneration of the inner ear (cochlea). Presbycusis can also involve other parts of the auditory system. The hearing loss is progressive in nature with the high frequencies affected first. While the process begins after age 20, it is typically at ages 55 to 65 that the high frequencies in the speech range begin to be affected.

So why is this so important? Well, knowing how people hear high and low frequencies in music and knowing what type of music the family listens to most – rock-n-roll versus classical, for example — is critical to designing a home media room for that family to truly enjoy.

This is just one of the many hundreds of considerations that Sound + Image Design takes into account when working with their Clients to tailor a custom-built home media room for their Clients’ listening pleasure.

If you’re ready to take the next step in building your home theater room or perhaps your looking to build a whole house audio and video integration system, simply call our Richmond showroom at 804.741.5816.

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