Why can you hear the sea in seashells?

Spoiler: It's not actually the sea!

Place a seashell, like a Conch shell, to your ear. What do you hear? The sea?

Now, while it might seem like we’re hearing the sea, in reality, we’re not – not even one little wave!

Remember that our ears are hearing lots of different sounds. It’s a very noisy world out there.

And an even noisier world inside us – like the beating of our heart and the whooshing of blood in our bodies.

Some people think it’s those swooshy sounds that you hear when you listen to a seashell – but that isn’t true either.

It’s all to do with sound waves. Sound waves come in lots of different shapes and sizes. Some will enter the seashell and bounce around – that’s called resonance.

Just to show there’s no magic you can try the same trick with a cup or a beaker – you’ll hear similar sounds. So I’m afraid that if you want to hear the sea, you’ll just have to take a trip to the seaside!

Hallux’s Hearing Helpdesk is now open and is answering all of your hearing questions!

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Hallux’s Hearing Helpdesk, with support from Phonak


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