Worlds of David Darling > Children's
Encyclopedia of Science > Sounds Interesting > Glossary
The Science of Acoustics
a book in the eXperiment! series by David Darling
A snail-shaped structure in the inner ear in which sound vibrations are
changed to electrical signals before being sent to the brain.
A device that is placed inside the ear during an operation. Part of the
cochlear implant picks up sounds outside the ear and changes them to electrical
signals. These then travel along fine wires to the cochlea.
The effect by which sound (or light) waves are crowded together if their
source is moving toward you, and spread apart if the source is moving away.
The passage leading from the outer ear to the eardrum.
The thin, oval-shaped piece of skin which lies at the boundary between the
outer and middle. It vibrates at the same frequency as the sounds which
fall upon it.
A sound that has bounced back off a hard surface to be heard shortly after
the original sound.
The ability to do work or cause movement.
The number of times a wave vibrates in a second.
The unit of frequency. One hertz equals one vibration (or “cycle”) per second.
A connected series of tubes and passageways in the skull which includes
the cochlea and semicircular canals.
An air-filled space which contains a chain of three tiny bones – the hammer,
anvil, and stirrup. These transmit the vibrations of the eardrum to the
The part of the ear you can see from the outside, together with the ear
The highness of lowness of a sound.
An electronic device that can record real sounds and store them in the form
of a series of numbers. These stored sounds can then be combined or altered
using a built-in computer.
Three looped tubes in the inner ear that are joined together and contain
a special liquid. They play an important part in our sense of balance.
A method of finding the distance and speed of an object by bouncing sound
waves off it.
The loud noise made by a plane or other object as it goes past the speed
of sound. It is caused by the plane breaking through the compressed air
waves that built up ahead of it.
Meaning "greater than the speed of sound."
An instrument that can create almost any sound by combining simple sounds
The quality of sound made by a musical instrument. It depends on the mixture
of the basic note with other frequencies that are present.
Sound that is too high in frequency to be heard by the human ear.
The stretched pieces of skin in the human throat which vibrate and make
sounds when air from the lungs is forced over them.