Can the human ear hear a single wave pulse?

In summary, the conversation discusses the concept of a pulse as a single 2π radian wave with two frequencies at either end of the range. It is noted that a single wave pulse will sound like a click, and the Fourier transform shows how this occurs when different frequencies are added together. The range of 1-4kHz is of interest due to heightened sensitivity, and the spectrum of an impulse is broad rather than focused at one frequency. A link is provided to demonstrate the effect of frequency and duration on sound perception, and the importance of isolation in experimenting with single waves is mentioned.
  • #1
jerromyjon
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Hi, I am referring to a pulse as one single 2π radian wave of preferably two frequencies at either end of the range. By two frequencies I mean that I would like to know if the detection of an audible continuous tone differs from their single oscillation frequency and/or intensity.
 
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  • #2
A single wave pulse will sound more like a click. Essentially, if you look at the Fourier transform, the many different frequencies of infinite duration are added together to cancel out in just the right way to leave a pulse.
 
  • #3
atyy said:
A single wave pulse will sound more like a click
So a low pitch (below 1kHz?) would be a "tick" I'm thinking, and as the frequency increases it would increase towards a "tink", since the "pitch" is higher and the duration is shorter? My eyes glazed over when I tried to comprehend the Fourier transform... I guess 1-4kHz is the emphasis of my interest being the range of heightened sensitivity.
 
  • #4
jerromyjon said:
So a low pitch (below 1kHz?) would be a "tick" I'm thinking, and as the frequency increases it would increase towards a "tink", since the "pitch" is higher and the duration is shorter? My eyes glazed over when I tried to comprehend the Fourier transform... I guess 1-4kHz is the emphasis of my interest being the range of heightened sensitivity.

The spectrum of an impulse is broad, not focused at just one frequency. If it were focused at one frequency it would be more of a tone than a tick and it wouldn't be an impulse in the time-domain (it would have more curves, as it were).
 
  • #5
jerromyjon said:
So a low pitch (below 1kHz?) would be a "tick" I'm thinking, and as the frequency increases it would increase towards a "tink", since the "pitch" is higher and the duration is shorter? My eyes glazed over when I tried to comprehend the Fourier transform... I guess 1-4kHz is the emphasis of my interest being the range of heightened sensitivity.

You can get a feeling for it at http://www.audiocheck.net/audiofrequencysignalgenerator_sinetone.php. Let's say we use a frequency of 500 Hz. Making the duration 0.2 s will give something that sounds like a tone, but making it 0.02 s will give something that sounds like burst of noise. So if you made it even shorted, to 0.002, which I think is what you asked, it will also not sound tone-like.
 
  • #6
Hi and thanks for the link! The 100Hz at 0.01s was the shortest duration I could get, and at 500Hz it sounds a bit lower pitch to me but that is 5 waves so you get more of a perception of the real continuous pitch. Just as a baseline of what should be nothing a .1s pulse of 10Hz is audible so that negates the point of my query, as I can't trust my high quality ear buds to produce a single isolated wave. I need to get some "quiet time" to experiment and see what I can deduce from what I can produce.
 

Related to Can the human ear hear a single wave pulse?

1. Can the human ear hear a single wave pulse?

Yes, the human ear is capable of hearing a single wave pulse. This is because the ear is sensitive to changes in air pressure, which is what sound waves are. Even a single wave pulse can create a fluctuation in air pressure that can be detected by the ear.

2. What is a single wave pulse?

A single wave pulse is a type of sound wave that consists of a single, rapid change in air pressure. It is a short burst of sound that is typically produced by a sudden event, such as a clap or a snap.

3. How loud does a single wave pulse have to be for the human ear to hear it?

The loudness of a single wave pulse needed for the human ear to hear it can vary. In general, the ear can detect sounds with a volume as low as 0 decibels (dB). However, a single wave pulse with a volume of 20 dB or higher is more likely to be heard by the average person.

4. Is it harmful for the human ear to hear a single wave pulse?

No, it is not harmful for the human ear to hear a single wave pulse. As long as the sound is not extremely loud, it is unlikely to cause any damage to the ear. However, prolonged exposure to loud single wave pulses or other loud sounds can lead to hearing loss and other ear-related issues.

5. Can the human ear distinguish between different types of single wave pulses?

Yes, the human ear is capable of distinguishing between different types of single wave pulses. This is because each sound wave has a unique frequency, which is what determines the pitch of the sound. The ear is able to detect and differentiate between different frequencies, allowing us to distinguish between different types of single wave pulses.

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