# Does pitch perception shift up while growing up?

Gold Member
I think this question boils down to whether the parts of the inner ear grow from say age 6 to age 26.

My thought is that if the parts of the inner inner ear do grow a little, then their response to what was a shorter wavelength of sound in the past will be the same as to what is a longer wavelength of sound in the present. Alternatively, what a C note feels like when learning on the piano as a child, might feel up to a half step lower compared to the same note played as an adult.

If there's anyone with perfect pitch who can confirm or deny this, I would be interested. Thoughts?

Homework Helper
Gold Member
Speed of sound is around 300 m/s, and dimensions of inner ear are measured in mm to cm. What do those two bits of information imply?

jim mcnamara
Mentor
Gold Member
Hmm. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3970226/
In humans the size of cochlea reaches adult size BEFORE birth, while the child is still inside Mom.

Think about why this is the case. @Bystander gave you a strong hint.

It would make it so that the range of frequencies newborns can hear is on par with the range of frequencies parents can hear, since similarly sized cochlea, ought to respond similarly to the same wavelengths.

jim mcnamara
Gold Member
Speed of sound is around 300 m/s, and dimensions of inner ear are measured in mm to cm. What do those two bits of information imply?

Are you trying to get that the "resonant" frequency of the inner ear would be about 30 kHz to 300 kHz (i.e. speed/wavelength)?
If we think of the cochlea as some sort of acoustic waveguide, the speed of sound in the cochlear fluid (water) would be more like 1500m/s, which would make the resonant frequency 5 times higher.

I think I'm totally not getting what you're trying to get me to see. Can you tell me more?

Homework Helper
Gold Member
"resonant" frequency of the inner ear would be about 30 kHz to 300 kHz (i.e. speed/wavelength)?
That's it, no need to overthink it.