Very loud sounds can damage hearing by injuring the vibration-sensing hair cells on the basilar membrane. Suppose a person has injured hair cells on a segment of the basilar membrane close to the stapes.
What type of sound is most likely to have produced this particular pattern of damage? (a) Loud music with a mix of different frequencies. (b) A very loud, high-frequency sound. (c) A very loud, low-frequency sound.
high frequency sound waves have a much higher energy content than their low freq counterparts, and so they can propagate further and do more damage to our ears. So at louder volumes, the high energy content is extra lethal to us because the energy dissipates IN OUR EAR and wrecks the little hair cells in there.