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Posted by on Jul 10, 2015 in Tell Me Why |

Can You Hear the Sea in a Seashell?

Can You Hear the Sea in a Seashell?

No, you can’t hear the sea in a seashell. When you hold an empty conch shell to your ear, you hear a faint roaring sound, but it’s not the roar of the sea. The sound you hear comes from the many sounds that are always going on around us.

The shape of the shell causes the sounds in the air to echo back and forth inside the shell. Besides the louder sounds you hear, many other sounds that you don’t hear (or pay attention to) are picked up by the shell and amplified (made louder).

Scientists believe that it’s the echo of the noise in the air around you. They call this ambient noise. The seashell captures the ambient noise, which then resonates inside the shell. Depending upon the size and type of shell you listen to, different frequencies of sound will be echoed back to your ear.

This leads to different shells making different “ocean” sounds. The best shells are large, spiral conch shells. Altogether, the various sounds make a noise that reminds us of breaking waves.

Content for this question contributed by Chris Boris, resident of North Tonawanda, New York, USA