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Lessons 2: Turn It Down!

As of 2013, about 26 million Americans between the ages of 20 – 69 have noise induced hearing loss that is a result of exposure to loud sounds. A significant number of people have lost the ability to hear high frequency sounds because of listening to loud music. Do you know how to reduce your likelihood of ending up with noise induced hearing loss?

Doing the science

  1. Start the Modular Synthesizer Simulation by clicking on the "Sim" tab.
  2. Make sure that the sound is turned on and your volume is at an appropriate low level on the device you’re viewing the simulation.
  3. Click the "D" key once (the second white key at the far left of the keyboard). Make sure the "Low" button on the Voltage Controlled Amplifier panel is selected.
  4. Note and record in Table 1 the amplitude of the sound (the distance above the vertical "0.0" mark) that is displayed in the top middle portion of the screen. Listen carefully to the note being played and record its relative loudness in Table 1.
  5. Click the "High" button on the Voltage Controlled Amplifier panel. Note and record in Table 1 the amplitude of the sound. Listen carefully to the note being played.
  6. Repeat steps 3 – 5 for the "F" key (the fourth white key from the left) and for the "B" key (the second white key from the right). Make sure to record your data in Table 1.

Table 1. Amplitude and Voltage

Key

Low Voltage Amplitude

Relative Loudness

High Voltage Amplitude

Relative Loudness

“D”

“F”

“B”

Do You Understand?

  1. Describe how changing between the Low and High voltages for a given note (like "D") affected the sound’s pitch.


  2. Describe the relationship between the volume of a sound and the sound’s amplitude.


  3. Using water waves as an example, discuss how a sound’s amplitude can impact hearing damage.