Simple Guide to Understanding Hertz

What is a Hertz?

Hertz (Hz) is a unit of measurement of sound frequency. Frequency, often measured in Hertz, is the pitch of a sound while amplitude, measured in decibels (dB), is the loudness of a sound. Both loudness and pitch are subjective attributes that allow us to hear. There is a high correlation between the two, so a change in pitch can also result in a change of loudness.

As humans, we hear a variety of different sounds, from the low humming of a car engine to the high pitches of birds singing. The human hearing frequency range is determined by the pitch and loudness of a sound. A healthy, normal human ear detects frequencies within a range of 20 Hz, being the lowest frequency, and 20 kHz, being the highest frequency. However, as we age the upper limit in average adults is often closer to 15–17 kHz.

Of course, there are certain sounds that we are unable to hear. Our pet dogs are able to hear dog whistles while we can’t since they have larger hearing ranges. Not all mammals have the same hearing range. Most smaller mammals are sensitive to higher frequencies.

Below are some frequencies and their respective common sounds:

  • 20 Hz and below is considered infrasound
  • 8,000 Hz – easily heard by everyone with normal hearing
  • 12,000 Hz – difficult for people over the age of 50
  • 15,000 Hz – difficult for people over the age of 40
  • 17,400 Hz – only teenagers can hear; difficult for most people over the age of 18 to hear this frequency
  • 20,000 Hz and above is considered ultrasound

Hertz and Hearing Loss

These hearing frequency ranges may vary depending on if you have hearing loss. Hearing loss usually affects the higher pitches first of the human hearing range. Those with high-frequency hearing loss may have trouble with hearing sounds including instruments like flutes.

There are also individuals who have low-frequency hearing loss, which means they have difficulty hearing sounds at or lower than 2,000 Hz like bass sounds in music or thunder. If you suspect you might have hearing loss, please consult a doctor or hearing professional to take a hearing test and explore your options. 

It is important to be proactive in protecting and maintaining your hearing health. Loud noise exposure can be very damaging, so make sure that you are doing what you can to minimize risks for hearing loss such as wearing earplugs at loud events and keeping volume levels at a safe level.

We hope you enjoyed reading about what a Hertz is and how you can take preventative steps to ensure that you have healthy hearing. Be sure to have your hearing tested regularly with a hearing healthcare professional. Together, you can develop an individualized plan to prevent, protect, and better manage your hearing health.

AudioCardio is a technology company focused on hearing health and wellness. Learn how AudioCardio can help maintain and strengthen your hearing with your favorite headphones or hearing aids at