General Question

Bluefreedom's avatar

How is it that you can hear the sound of the sea when you hold a large seashell up to your ear?

Asked by Bluefreedom (22851 points ) November 1st, 2008

Does anyone have any thoughts or facts on why this occurs and/or what may cause it to happen?

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13 Answers

PupnTaco's avatar

You can’t, it just sounds kind of like the ocean when the sounds around you are processed in the shell’s chambers.

mea05key's avatar

the sound wave of sea is trapped in the seashell.

Spargett's avatar

White noise, which resembles the sound of the ocean. The shell just acts as an amplifier for the ambient noise around you.

acebamboo77's avatar

It was always my understanding that the sound you hear in a shell is the amplified sound of the blood rushing in your ear…. now that i think about that it sounds pretty ridiculous.

bpeoples's avatar

Apparently the conch shell has a particular resonance frequency, and so the ambient noises in the surrounding area (including your blood rushing, if the room were quiet enough) are amplified, but only in those frequencies.

Odd chance that most large conches are about the right size to get noises in the ocean’s range. wikipedia

watchman220's avatar

The ocean’s psychic energy is concentrated into the shells atomic structure. The shell’s vortex shape amplifies the constant flow of the ocean’s energy as it inflows to the shells atomic structure. As it resonates with the ocean frequency, the sea shell chakras are opened up to receive that energy at the atomic level. This energy is then transferred to the cellular level of the shell and the creature that lives inside it also sings the song of the ocean, resonating with the universal energy.
Once the creature dies, the resonance remains, although it is actually a slightly different frequency because the living organism is no longer in the shell. So it is more like the shell of a universal ocean song that you hear when you put the shell to your ear.
It’s been proven…scientific. Really.

wundayatta's avatar

Oh the sound of the ocean is in any thing that cups your ear. You can do it with your hand.

I think the ambient noise idea might be right. I think the cupped object does amplify a bit, but I also think it traps sound and bounces it back and forth between your ear and the shell.

watchman220's avatar

nope….@daloon. You are obviously not very scientific. We come from the ocean too…so that means we with cupped hands can faintly hear the universal cry of the mother ocean in our blood.
It resonates within our sensory perceptions. Not just auditory perception but also sometimes if we look hard enough…we can see the ocean too…and feel the ocean…
Can you feel it @daloon? Concentrate….meditate….
sometimes it helps if you light some candles and say….
nananananananana…..be the ocean…be the ocean….nananananananana.
Focus @daloon. you are the freedom of the ocean. =)

wundayatta's avatar

@watchman: why I do believe there is the smell of salt in the air!

No, wait. Maybe it’s just the epsom I’m bathing my feet in. Sorry dude. I’m just not very good at this kind of “scientific” thing!

aidje's avatar

Howstuffworks confirms the ambient noise theory.

XCNuse's avatar

@bpeoples, it doens’t have to be a conch shell, heck cuping your hands against your ears works just fine, it’s just a lot of low grade teachers use seashells for the more beachy resemblance.. metaphor.. whatever you want to call it, it just happens to be that way, it doesn’t take a shell at all, it just talks something to block enough of noise out and keep in the white noise.

wilhel1812's avatar

It’s the ambient noise thingy…
Great question BTW!

Siren's avatar

I believe it is the resonating ear wax which is forced to do a “tango” due to compression when anything covers the ear canal. If one were to record this sound and play it back at a certain frequency, voices similar to the Smurfs song “la-la, la-la-la-la” can distinctly be discerned. A million voices combined (ie particles of wax) sound like the breezes in the ocean.

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