MadSci Network: Physics

Subject: In a loud club, will I be able to hear a spoken voice if I plug my ears?

Date: Mon Nov 29 23:21:56 2004
Posted by Steve Sanyal
Grade level: undergrad School: University of Toronto
City: Toronto State/Province: Ontario Country: Canada
Area of science: Physics
ID: 1101792116.Ph

I was in a dance club and a friend was speaking to me.  I could not hear her 
at all over the blaring music and told her so.  She pressed the little nubby 
part of my ear so that it blocked the canal (sort of like a natural ear 
plug).  Suddenly I found I could hear her quite quickly.  My girlfriend thinks 
it is not scientifically plausible that I can actually hear spoken voices 
better in this manner, and instead it is merely a matter of focus.  Her 
argument is that covering the ear canal is lowering the intensity of all 
sounds by the same amount, so the voice shouldn't be any more discernible.  
Can anyone provide some scientific explanation for my empirical evidence?

Re: In a loud club, will I be able to hear a spoken voice if I plug my ears?

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