What is Acoustics?

Acoustics is the science of sound. There are many kinds of sound and many ways that it affects our lives. We use sound to communicate and you might also know that acoustics is important for creating musical instruments or concert halls or surround sound stereo or hearing aids. But sound is also used to find oil and gas, to study earthquakes and climate change, and to make sure that the baby in a mother's womb is healthy. Some animals, like bats and dolphins, use sound to find their food.

Explore this site to learn about acoustics and the scientists who study sound.

There are many different areas of study and practice within Acoustics. On this site we have condensed materials into 8 content areas:

general ACOUSTICS
Material in this category covers the science of sound and waves. How sound is created, how it travels and how it is received. In addition how materials react to different types of sounds.

ANIMAL BIOACOUSTICS
Animal Bioacousticians study how animals make, use and hear sounds. Animal bioacoustics also includes the use of sound to study and detect the presence of animals and their behavior, the sounds they make, the effects of man-made noise on animals, and the use of SONAR to monitor the presence of plankton and fish.

Architectural ACOUSTICS
Architectural acousticians study how to design buildings and other spaces that have pleasing sound quality and safe sound levels. Architectural acoustics includes the design of concert halls, classrooms and even heating systems.

Medical ACOUSTICS
Doctors and medical researchers study and use acoustics to diagnose and treat different types of ailments.  The study of medical acoustics includes the use of ultrasound and other acoustical techniques to learn how different types of sound interact with cells, tissues, organs and entire organisms.

MUSICAL ACOUSTICS
Musical acousticians study the science of how music is made, travels and is heard. Including architects, musicians and instrument designers.

our ears
Hearing specialists and educators are interested in how our ears sense sounds, what types sounds can damage our ears and how best to educate people about the dangers of loud sounds. Hearing specialists also study how to help people with hearing impairments.

SPEECH SCIENCE
Speech Scientists study how speech is made, travels and is heard.

UNDERWATER ACOUSTICS
Underwater acousticians study natural and man-made underwater sounds, how sounds are made and travel in the underwater environment.

NOISE/ENVIRONMENTAL ACOUSTICS
Noise specialists are mostly concerned with making our world a quieter place.  They study natural and man-made noise, especially from machinery and transportation, and how people respond to noise.  Knowledge produced by these scientists can be used to redesign noisy machinery, or to recommend ways of shielding the noise, or to help lawmakers and public officials create rules for limiting exposure to noise.

 

 

Leaping Dolphins