"Sound" Instruction Using an Online Hearing Test

By Laura Hospitál on Apr 08, 2015

When teaching sound and related concepts to students with visual impairment, it is important to tie the concepts to real-life.  This activity ties the concepts of  wavelength, frequency (in Hertz), and pitch together using an on-line hearing test.  It should be completed after these concepts have been introduced.  

This activity also incorporates technology in a manner that interests the students and is entertaining.  



  • Wavelength:  the distance from the top (crest) of one wave to the top (crest) of the next wave
  • Frequency: the number of wave cycles/ second
  • Hertz:  a measure of the number of frequency cycles/ second
  • Amplitude: the height of a wave

This activity was designed by JIm Clark.


After initial instruction on sound, prepare a student computer by pulling up the following website: http://www.noiseaddicts.com/2010/10/hearing-loss-test/

There are other on-line hearing tests that may be accessed. 




  1. After pulling up the above website, have students listen to sound at various frequencies and determine if they can hear the sounds.  Begin with lower frequencies and then sounds of a higher frequency.
  2. Ask: What happened to the pitch as the frequency increased?  (It was higher.)
  3. Ask: Based on what you learned about frequency and wavelength, what relationship should there be between the frequency in Hz and the wavelength of the wave?  (inverse relationship)
  4. Prepare a pair of headphones if other students will be disturbed by the noise.  
  5. If several computers are available, several students can be completing this activity individually.


  1. Some students may be technology savvy enoughtto pull up this website on their devices (whether Braillenotes or tablets).  In this case, some of the students could be working on their own devices with headphones while others are on student computers.  
  2. Advanced:  For high school students who are learning the formulas for wavelength or frequency, this activity could be a used in coordination with discussion of these formulas and practice in utilizing them. 



NGSS Standards:

Grade 1 - Waves, Light, and Sound
PS4.A: Wave Properties

 Sound can make matter vibrate, and vibrating matter can make sound. (1-PS4-1) PS4.B: Electromagnetic Radiation

Grade 4. Waves:  Waves  and Information
PS4A Wave Properties:  Waves of the same type can differ in amplitude (height of the wave) and wavelength (spacing between wave peaks).
Middle School: Waves and Electromagnetic Information
PS4.A: Wave Properties: A simple wave has a repeating pattern with a specific wavelength, frequency, and amplitude. (MS-PS4-1)
 A sound wave needs a medium through which it is transmitted. (MS-PS4-2)
High School: Waves and Electromagnetic Radiation
PS4.A: Wave Properties: The wavelength and frequency of a wave are related to one another by the speed of travel of the wave, which depends on the type of wave and the medium through which it is passing. (HS-PS4-1)
Sound instruction collage



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