7th grade project on hearing and earphones. Please help.

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7th grade project on hearing and earphones. Please help.

Postby time4tea262 » Sun Sep 14, 2008 6:15 pm

Hello. I am in 7th grade and want to do a science project on how music played through different earphones affects the hearing nerve. I have a few questions on the subject:

1) I would need to measure the sound waves. What is the device called that does this? Is it easily obtained?
2) How would I measure the affects on the hearing nerve? Would I look for certain certain measures?


Also, in case this project is not approved by my teacher, I would like some help finding 2 new topics (I looked today for a few hours, but was unable to find anything suitable). I need a question that when stated has an independ and dependant variable (general asked as: what is the effect of ______ on _______). I am interested in radiation, environmental sciences like water pollution and alternative energy as well as air pollution. I would like to stay away from plant topics as they usually take a lot of time to do an experiment with.

Many thanks in advance!!!
time4tea262
 
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Project Question: How do different types of earphones affect the hearing nerve?
Project Due Date: 10/6
Project Status: I am just starting

Re: 7th grade project on hearing and earphones. Please help.

Postby MFagan » Sun Sep 14, 2008 8:50 pm

I am a mechanical engineer and thus can't really help you with your second question but I have done several projects with sound and can help you with the first part of your question.
The tool you need is known as a spectrum analyzer, and is commonly used for measuring and testing waveforms of all types, including sound waves. What you would be looking for is what is known as the frequency response, or how different sound sources reproduce given waveforms. For example, some might emphasize higher tones, while others might emphasize bass (lower frequencies). The spectrum analyzer, which graphically displays the amplitude (quantity) of various frequencies, is coupled to a laboratory or instrumentation-quality microphone. This microphone is calibrated with a perfectly flat response (it receives all frequencies equally) to avoid contaminating the data with its own bias. To further remove outside influences, you'll need access to an anechoic chamber, which is a fancy name for a soundproof room with no echo. This will contain the microphone and the test sound source. Finally, you'll need some standard test tones or a frequency generator to generate the sound signals against which to test.

Your best source for this equipment and help with your project would be to find an audio engineer willing to help you. Many audio engineers work for recording studios, performance groups, and commercial sound and theater production companies. Music stores and audio equipment rental shops are also good sources. If someone who works there doesn't have the skills or equipment, chances are good they will know someone who does. An audio engineer will be familiar with what you are trying to accomplish, and have the equipment and skills to get good data. They do this all the time, for example, finding the particular audio characteristics of a speaker, microphone, or concert hall. An audio engineer is also likely to have a wide selection of headphones and other audio sources to test. Once you learn more about the process of testing audio equipment, you might try visiting an electronics flea market and finding some used equipment. Chances are that you will get better data with state of the art professional equipment, but sometimes its fun to do further explorations by yourself.

Let me know if you have further questions, and good luck with your project
Michael
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Re: 7th grade project on hearing and earphones. Please help.

Postby time4tea262 » Mon Sep 15, 2008 4:03 am

Thank you. So, to clarify, I wouldn't have to test directly on the hearing nerve, but would have to use the data I get (the frequency response) from each of the types of headphones, and use that with statisics on how much noise an ear can take?
time4tea262
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2008 6:03 pm
Occupation: Student
Project Question: How do different types of earphones affect the hearing nerve?
Project Due Date: 10/6
Project Status: I am just starting

Re: 7th grade project on hearing and earphones. Please help.

Postby MFagan » Mon Sep 15, 2008 6:23 am

Exactly. Scientists have determined very precisely the frequencies to which the healthy human ear responds, and you can compare the frequency response of the various headphones to that of a healthy ear. Actual measurements of the responses of a human ear are made by a healthcare worker known as an audiologist, and they measure not the nerve itself but run through a set of tests in which you tell them what you are able and not able to hear. Taking measurements of real human subjects is always very tricky, but fortunately they have been performing these tests for years, and I'm sure that you can find the data for, say, different ages, and perhaps people whose hearing has been damaged by repeated exposure to loud noises. For example, look at http://www.sfu.ca/sonic-studio/handbook/Audiogram.html
Let me know if you have any more questions,
Michael
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Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2008 1:16 pm
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