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How We Hear And Produce Sound

Audrey Hunt, author of "Anyone Can Sing," explains how we make sounds. Develop a better singing/speaking voice.

Every Sound is a Vibration Made of Waves Oscillating at a Particular Frequency.


How Sound Is Produced

Have you ever thought about how you make a particular sound? Here's a simple explanation:

Sound is the movement of air. Air strikes the vocal cords causing them to vibrate. When any object vibrates it causes movement in air particles which bump into more particles and sound waves occur.

When you prepare to speak or sing this is what happens:

  1. You inhale air.
  2. The air strikes the vocal bands and sets them into motion (vibrations).
  3. These vibrations produce sound.

When we shout or speak louder, more air is needed. If we fail to take in enough air when we shout or increase the volume, we end up with a sore throat or laryngitis. This is a common flaw of many singers. They want to sing louder (project), or higher, and they try to do so without taking in more air. They end up with a dry throat, hoarseness, and at times even develop vocal nodules.

The Sounds of Life

Sound is a part of our everyday lives, yet we rarely, if ever, stop to think about why and how we sound the way we do.

We hear a baby cry, children laughing, the sound of a piano. We listen as someone prays or the scream of a fire engine on its way to save a life. An endless array of sounds is going on all the time, with every heartbeat and each breath we take.

We almost become immune to the sounds of a humming car engine, the running of a refrigerator, the chopping of a salad, and the constant swallow of our saliva. Footsteps go unheard, and the sounds of chewing something tasty take a background to the delicious taste itself.

We produce sound by speaking, singing, yelling, screaming, crying, laughing, moaning, and whispering. And we become so busy and preoccupied we rarely notice these sounds.

We Become Immune to Daily Sounds


Fascinating Facts About Sound

  • Sound travels at 330 meters per second or 740 miles per hour
  • Sound waves are longitudinal waves with two parts: compression and rarefaction. Compression is the part of the sound waves where the molecules of air are pushed (compressed) together. Rarefaction is the part of the waves where the molecules are far away from each other. Sound waves are a sequence of compressions and rarefaction.
  • The highest key on a piano vibrates 4,000 times per second.
  • When someone sings with a greater amplitude compared to a smaller amplitude, they are singing louder compared to singing quieter. Amplitude is the size of the vibration in a sound wave that affects how loud we sing. Larger vibrations make a louder sound.
  • If you hear thunder 20 seconds after you see a flash of lightning, then the lightning occurred 4 miles away.
  • The speed of sound is around 767 miles per hour (1,230 kilometers per hour).
  • Fast vibrations make a high sound, and slow vibrations make a low sound.
  • Whales in the ocean sing to each other. The sound of their song can travel a distance of 800km.

How We Hear Sound

Quiet The Mind With Deep Breathing

Sounds impact us in many different ways. Screaming, grating and machine-like noises interrupt a serene and peaceful feeling. Discordant sounds have even been known to cause illness. At the same time, sound can have a healing effect on us. A soft lullaby will quiet a crying baby.

The sound of "aaah" during morning meditation, helps to calm the inner dialogue going on in our mind. This dialogue goes on and on. We try to find sleep at night, but our minds just won't shut off. When we accompany the aaah sound with deep breathing, we enter into a state of complete relaxation.

Learning how to breathe by using the diaphragmatic muscle( the diaphragm ) is a must. Otherwise, you are only breathing by using a small part of the lung area. I urge you to take some time and really practice this technique. After all...we are talking about breathing.

Thoughts Are Increased Vibrations

Every sound is a vibration made of waves oscillating at a particular frequency. During singing, vibrato is produced by the number of oscillations occurring on a sustained tone. If you line up 5 or 6 glasses, filling them to different heights with water, you will have different tones from each glass.

Now the human ear has a frequency of about sixteen thousand vibrations, going up to approximately forty thousand vibrations, per second. Then, as you go higher up the scale at about one thousand million vibrations per second, you discover electricity. I can't begin to wrap my mind around this.

At two hundred million vibrations per second, we find heat. And wait until you hear this. Light and color appear at five hundred billion vibrations per second. Your friendly x-ray manifests itself at two trillion vibrations per second.

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And what about thoughts? Thoughts and spiritual dimensions are in the realm of increased vibrations beyond anything that is even calculable.

Vibrational frequencies are clearly the very nature of our material universe. Fascinating!


Important points to remember:

  • Sound is going on all the time.
  • Sound is a vibration or series of vibrations.
  • Sounds impact us in a variety of ways.
  • Learn how to quiet the mind with deep (diaphragmatic) breathing.
  • Every sound is a vibration made of waves oscillating at a particular frequency.
  • Thoughts and spiritual dimension are in the realm of increased vibrations beyond anything that is even calculable.
  • Vibrational frequencies are clearly the very nature of our material universe.
  • Sound vibrations travel in a wave pattern, and we call these vibrations sound waves.
  • The speed of sound depends on the density of the medium through which it is traveling.
  • Our ears are capable of hearing only those sound waves which lie in the range between 20 and 20,000 vibrations per second.

Learning how sound is produced can be extensive and complicated. I've tried to keep the process somewhat simplified. What an amazing adventure we take when we discover the wonder of sound.

I hope you now have a better understanding about we hear and produce sound.


how we make sound - VoiceScienceWorks

Sound is ephemeral, fleeting, but some sort of a physical manifestation can help you hold on to it longer in time. I'm sure of this; I've always thought the sound that you make is just the tip of the iceberg, like the person that you see physically, is just the tip of the iceberg as well.

Yo -Yo Ma

Please Help The Writer By Providing Your Answer

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2011 Audrey Hunt


Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on March 22, 2019:


Thanks for being here. Appreciate your nice comment.


Thanks for finding my article interesting. I appreciate your support.

M Hasham khan

Thank you for reading my article on sound. Have a nice week.

Muhammad Hasham khan from pakistan on December 16, 2018:


Curiad on September 25, 2012:

Very interesting!

Mike Robbers from London on September 25, 2012:

I am playing the piano and I love reading articles regarding the natural interpretation of sound.. thanks for sharing, voted up!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on November 20, 2011:

Niel - Thank you very much and I'm thrilled that you like my vibes! Take care.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on November 18, 2011:

Dearest Dim - You write the lyrics, and I will record them. It would be my pleasure. Thanks so much!

Dim Flaxenwick from Great Britain on November 18, 2011:

Excellent hub. Thank you. l wish l could hear you sing, especially if l had written the lyrics.

Take care and thanks again.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on November 17, 2011:

Oh, thank you seedplanter! Love your kind comments. And welcome to Hubpages. Yes, I love teaching, still...after 45 years. How wonderful that you picked up on the passion that I feel for teaching. I'm eager to read your hubs. Thank you for the follow.

seedplanter on November 17, 2011:

I always enjoy articles that teach us about the intricate details of how we're put together. It's no wonder the Psalmist talks about how "fearfully and wonderfully" we are created. You obviously have a great passion for teaching, and I'm happy to have been on the receiving end of it today. Thanks so much! Beautiful hub. :)

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on November 15, 2011:

Ana - Thank you so much for your lovely comments. I do appreciate your taking the time to read, vote and leave your comments. Blessings to you Ana.


Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on November 15, 2011:

Hello Dave - You are so right about choir members benefitting from learning about sound. After-all, that is what a choir is all about. :) Thanks so much Dave.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on November 15, 2011:

timorous - Great comments, my friend. As for diaphragmatic breathing, with daily practice and concentration, "natures way" of breathing can be mastered. The benefits make practicing well worth it.

Thank you!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on November 15, 2011:

Eiddwen - Hello my friend. I, like you, enjoy learning new things each day. The more I learn, the less I know. :)

We are fortunate to have so many scholars here on hubpages. Your wonderful hubs always give me so much. Thank you.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on November 15, 2011:

Tamron - Learning about sound is an amazing eye opener. I enjoyed writing about it. Thanks for your visit.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on November 15, 2011:

Thank you mentalacer. Your comments are better than my hub!!!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on November 15, 2011:

Writer20 - I appreciate your visit and kind comments. Thanks so much!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on November 15, 2011:

Paradise7 - I found the same section of this article to be my favorite part as I was writing it. The power and force behind vibrations is quite astonishing. Thanks so much for your visit and comments.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on November 14, 2011:

Rosemary - Thank you for visiting here and for checking out my other hubs as well. Appreciate it so much!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on November 13, 2011:

Thank you Suzie. So nice to read your comments. Take care.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on November 12, 2011:

nenytridiana- What a sweet person you are. I am very happy to have you here, visiting my hub and bringing such wonderful comments. And my spooky dog welcomes you and promises not to bite!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on November 12, 2011:

Genna - You have added some excellent comments. I hope everyone reads them. I, like you, cannot function at all with noise going on. At times I think my poor ears are more sensitive than most. :)

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on November 12, 2011:

Epigramman - I always find new energy within, when I read your very welcomed comments. And thank you for sending Mary as she mentioned your name. Also, I appreciate all you send my way and for publishing my hubs on facebook too.

You are such a dear. I love reading all your comments...not just to my hubs but to other hubbers as well. You give such inspiring and endearing motivation to our hubfamily. Take good care and here is a nice warm hug!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on November 04, 2011:

ubanichijioke - It is a joy to see you here, my new friend. And I am finding your hubs so interesting and valuable. Thank you for taking time to comment. It means so much to me.

Alexander Thandi Ubani from Lagos on November 04, 2011:

Wow! This was well illustrated and useful. The pictures, excellent!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on November 04, 2011:

Good morning, my friend, prasetio! How is the fantastic teacher today? I have a strong feeling, your school children just love you - and you are their favorite teacher.

I always feel happy when I see you on one of my hubs. You have a sincere and loving heart for everyone. That is why you are a favorite star here in our hubpage family. Much love to you, my friend. Happy days!

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on November 04, 2011:

I really love this lesson. The miracle of sound come up from the the mouth. Thank you very much for writing and share with us. Well done and vote up!


epigramman on November 03, 2011:

.....hello my dear dear friend - I was most thrilled to hear from you just now and it really made my day. In fact I just sent a nice lady over here the other day by the name of Mary - and as I often send so many others your way too - as you always inspire me with your sincere and heartfelt writing style so I must post this beautiful hub subject to my Facebook page with a direct link back here and send you hugs, warm wishes and good energy from lake erie time ontario canada 2:45pm

...and yes what would we do without 'sound' in our lives;

what would I do without 'my Audrey' ......

nenytridiana from Probolinggo - Jawa Timur - Indonesia on October 22, 2011:

You don't need spooky dog to make me send my comment. With hub like yours, everyone would like to comment. hahaha. You are really vocalcoach. I was a singer when I was in high school,but unfortunately I didn't have a vocalcoach, and my vocal has been worst since my age gets old. pity! Thank you my coach!

nenytridiana from Probolinggo - Jawa Timur - Indonesia on October 22, 2011:

You don't need spooky dog to make me send my comment. With hub like yours, everyone would like to comment. hahaha. You are really vocalcoach. I was a singer when I was in high school,but unfortunately I didn't have a vocalcoach, and my vocal has been worst since my age gets old. pity! Thank you my coach!

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on October 22, 2011:

Thank you for this well-written hub on one of the senses we often take for granted. I ignore car engines, yet when I listen to a symphony, singing, or a pianist and I hear an off or sour note, it screeches to me like a crow with its claws on a blackboard while it doesn't seem to bother others.

I know some people who can work and function well amidst significant chaotic noise – an ability I lack.

I think we are also conditioned to receive and process sounds in certain ways that vary depending on the individual.

This is a fascinating and well-thought out dissertation. Thank you!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on October 21, 2011:

b.Malin - Hello, my friend. I wish I could sleep with the windows open as it is a healthy thing to do. I am happy to hear that you found my hub to be informative. It was fun to do. And I sure appreciate your vote UP. Hugs to you.


b. Malin on October 19, 2011:

Hi Vocalcoach, the one sound I need EAR Plugs for is the night time sounds...I am such a light sleeper and I need to sleep with the Windows opened. Having said that, I found this Hub on "Sounds and how we produce them" to be a Wonderful and such an informative Read. You are such a Great Educator my Friend...And another Vote UP for you.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on October 19, 2011:

carrie - You are a delight...and now you are safe because you commented. :):) How nice to see you here. I will pay you a visit - right now!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on October 18, 2011:

Alicia - Thank you for reading and leaving your comments.

Learning to "deep breathe" is a free gift we can give ourselves. Well worth the time and practice it takes. Have a pleasant day!


Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on October 18, 2011:

JTWalters - Thanks for your nice comments and glad you approved of the pictures. Have a great day!


Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on October 17, 2011:

thoughtforce - Thankyour for your comments, which add so much to my hub. Sound is such an amazing thing, as are vibrations. Even a rock contains vibrations and energy! Glad you found this interesting and informative. Thank you.


carriethomson from United Kingdom on October 16, 2011:

ha ha ha!! oh no please dont unleash!! see i have commented!! what an intresting hub and a great topic!! will be back to read more of your hubs!! thanks


Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on October 16, 2011:

Chatkath - Your feedback on my hub is important to me, as I want to find just the right balance between theory and inspiration. Some say it can't be done...I think it can. Your comments have certainly proved that the manner in which theory is presented can and does make a difference.

You have given yourself extra years on this beautiful planet, by learning how to breathe properly and implementing it into your life. Wonderful! And, as you know, breathing from the diaphragmatic area truly helps to relieve stress. I believe that why I handle stress so well - as a vocal and breathing coach, I'm always breathing properly and ridding my body of carbon monoxcide as pure oxygen replaces toxins we breath in all day long.

Thank you dear Kathy...I appreciate you and your fantastic hubs very much.


Kathy from California on October 16, 2011:

So refreshing to understand a rather complicated process that has been explained so well Audrey, fantastic job! I love your section about breathing, I learned the correct technique and implemented into my life but must constantly remind myself when stressed. Great hub, voted up, useful and awesome.

Neil Sperling from Port Dover Ontario Canada on October 16, 2011:

Awesome stuff..... I love your vibes vocal coach!

JT Walters from Florida on October 16, 2011:

Hi vocalcoach,

This is a really interesting article and the pictures are just beautiful. Thank you for sharing.


Christina Lornemark from Sweden on October 16, 2011:

This hub about sounds is so informative and interesting! Imagine all those vibrations around us; thoughts, light, sound and so on. It is really beautiful to think about when you present it like that! Thanks for an interesting read, Vocal,


Rosemary Sadler from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand on October 15, 2011:

A fascimating hub. Very informative and I see your other hubs which I must go and read now.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on October 15, 2011:

Charlotte - Great comments which I enjoyed so much. Especially, the uniqueness of each voice. I like that. And I love "what will heaven sound like." Someday we will know, and I suspect you and I will be great friends.



Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on October 15, 2011:

Hyphenbird - Yes, sounds have an enormous influence over our moods and feelings. In fact, I am going in to the recording studio after the first of the year to record my first CD for piano and it is soft piano stylings for balancing the mind, body and spirit ( or something like that.) :) When it comes out, I will send you one. Thanks


Susieq42 on October 15, 2011:

Voted up and interesting, Vocalcoach. Great hub and very informational.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on October 15, 2011:

drbj - Many thanks, my blessed friend. Enjoy your weekend...heck - enjoy your life!!!


Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on October 15, 2011:

diogenes - Oh, thank you so very much for your uplifting comments. If not for the fact that I am a serious and technical vocal coach, I doubt that I would have studied how sound is produced. I have such a curious mind, forever asking why? :) Thanks for your visit.


Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on October 15, 2011:

Your hub contains some interesting ideas and useful information, Audrey! Thank you for sharing this enjoyable article.

Paradise7 from Upstate New York on October 15, 2011:

Thank you for sharing the info about sound. Frankly, I was much more intrigued by the tail end of the article, where you told us of the millions, billions and trillions of vibrations to cause X-rays, heat and light...and the unmeasurable vibrations thoughts cause. That last part has got me jazzed to look into it further.


Joyce Haragsim from Southern Nevada on October 15, 2011:

Great hub to relax us, thank you. up/awesome

drbj and sherry from south Florida on October 15, 2011:

Entertaining and thorough examination of the God-given miracle of sound. Thank you, Audrey.

Brenda Barnes from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on October 15, 2011:

Your Hubs are always so informative and yet entertaining. Sound is so important to me in so many ways. Excess makes me nervous and almost gives me an anxiety attack. I can actually feel the waves of anger or hatred touch me. Also I can feel love and peace soothe me. Now I understand why. Thank you for that.

Mentalist acer from A Voice in your Mind! on October 15, 2011:

Sound is the prime source for most people to express emotion and is also a prime source that people use to interpret another persons on many levels.;)

Great dissertation vocalcoach!;)

tamron on October 15, 2011:

I didn't know that about sound! Very Interesting! Vote Up and Stumble!

Eiddwen from Wales on October 15, 2011:

So very very interesting Audrey.

It is so lucky that we are never too old to learn because I have learnt so much in my time here on HubPages.

Thank you for this lesson again, I really do enjoy anythingto do with music/singing and this one was indeeda treat.

Take care and have a great day.


Tim Nichol from Me to You on October 15, 2011:

You're quite right Audrey, most of us don't pay enough attention to the sounds around us.

The human voice is an amazing instrument. While the speaking voice can be anything from very soothing to extremely grating, the singing voice is something special as well.

I suspect most people have very shallow breathing, due to stress. It's very difficult to maintain the diaphragmatic breathing consistently.

Dave Mathews from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA on October 15, 2011:

I know some choir members who could benefit from this alot. Thank you.

krancenblum on October 15, 2011:

I try and teach people to breath with diaphram everyday as a massage therapist and it also aids in our bodys healing process. Thanks for such a beautiful text.

diogenes from UK and Mexico on October 15, 2011:

An absolutely marvellous and challenging hub encompassing the very leading edge of physics and quantum mechanics as they apply to vibration and oscillation, etc.

This may all be tied to the oscillation of the elektron and other particles; it's way above my head...Great stuff! Bob

Ana Gajic on October 14, 2011:

I liked this hub very much:) It is very interesting, well-explained and extremely well written:) Voted up!

Charlotte B Plum on October 14, 2011:

I never knew about the millions of oscillations that produced heat/light - wow that is so amazing. I am always amazed at how God created the human voice - everyone has a unique voice, and isn't just so cool how God made each person special? And one person can do so many things with their voice, it is just so fascinating. I always wonder what heaven sounds like. =)

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