What We and Our Dogs Can Hear

In this post, I will be making comparisons between the hearing capabilities of humans and the hearing capabilities of dogs. In both cases, sound is measured in Hertz.

For humans, sound enters the ear canal, go through the eardrum, and cause a sympathetic vibration through the middle ear bones that moves a series of hairs called the stereocilia. Theses hairs then send a signal regarding the nature of the sound to the brain, allowing us to hear sounds that are in our environment. The most common audio range given to an average human’s hearing is from 20 Hertz to 20 Kilohertz. But starting at eight years old, however, a human’s hearing range decreases over time, with men suffering a greater degree of hearing loss than women.

As far as what can be heard, it is a much different story for our dogs though. For them, hearing is both breed and age dependent. The consensus hearing range, however, for all dogs is 67 Hertz to 45 Kilohertz. This is a range of 9 octaves compared to a human’s 10 octaves. Of course the difference lies in the range of frequencies. Dogs can hear sounds much higher in the spectrum than humans, but we can hear sounds much lower in the spectrum. Dogs can direct their ears, controlled by 18 muscles, towards a sound to amplify the intensity of that sound, something humans cannot do to such a degree. In conclusion just looking at the frequencies that can be heard, both man and dog can see, rather hear, the world in very different ways.

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