Does a loud acoustic sound travel farther than a softer one?
My understanding is that it does not. Yes, we can hear a louder sound at a greater distance. However the percent attenuation is the same for loud sounds and for soft sounds. If we are at a great distance from the source of the sound, the sound waves from the softer sound may have dipped below our perceptual threshold.
Caveat: My background is in chemistry, rather than physics.
As far as I know the speed of sound varies only according to the medium it is passing through
Loud and soft sounds attenuate at the same rate, but human perception of sound will vary according to hearing thresholds.
An interesting story: I once did a quick listening check on my son's hearing aids in the car, and heard a man speaking softly. This sort of freaked me out, because I couldn't figure out why there would be the sound of a voice in his hearing aids when there was no one else in the car with us. As it turns out, I had the radio turned down so low I couldn't hear it (I thought it was off), but the amplification on my son's aids made the (very) soft sound perceptible to my ears. Took me a few minutes to figure that one out!
by Peeples 5 years ago
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