What dB does the subconscious hear?

Hi everyone, my question is the maximum limit which subconscious mind hears. Does it hear -35-45 dB in the background?

Either you can hear it or not. It might be “subconscious” if you can hear it but you’re not paying close attention.

But usually, if you’re not paying attention at all it NEVER gets “into your brain”. For example, if the TV is on during the sports report and you’re not paying attention, you missed it and that’s it. You don’t know the score and hypnosis won’t bring it out… You just don’t know… You’ll have to wait for the next report or look it up online, etc.

The threshold of hearing is about 0dB SPL but the noise-level is never that low (except in an anechoic chamber or in outer space) so very-low sounds will be masked (drown-out) by the noise.

In a home environment you can probably hear 35-45dB, even if there is also some noise at that level.

If you are at a loud rock concert you probably won’t hear the people talking a few feet away, even though the sound waves are hitting your ear the same as if the band wasn’t playing. The voices are masked. It’s the same if you are recording… The voices (soundwaves) will be "recorded’ but they are drowned-out and they can’t be isolated/extracted so it’s as-if they just don’t exist.

You can play-around with masking in Audacity…

Start by generating white or pink noise, or open a music file. This will be the “loud sound” that drowns-out the background sound.

Then open another track that’s going to be you subliminal/subconscious sound. Those two sounds will be mixed when you play the audio or when you export the file. So you can reduce the background noise by 20 or 30dB and it will be masked (or partially masked) by the louder sound.

…Then if you want, you can invert the “loud” track and mix it back in to subtract it out. That leaves just the quiet background sound and you boost it and you’ll hear it clearly again! You might loose some quality and it’s best to avoid lossy compression like MP3, but you can “expose” the sound again.

The “trick” with that is to not mess-with that loud sound track, or the mix, because you want it to exactly subtract-out. In most real world audio that’s impossible because you don’t have that identical sound that you want to subtract-out, or you already have both tracks so there’s no need to do it.

it’s best to avoid lossy compression like MP3

What he said. MP3 gets its small convenient sound files by re-arranging sounds and deleting ones that it thinks you can’t hear anyway. Never use MP3 for standards, measurements, and scientific experiments. It will drive you crazy.

Also note that means you can’t reuse almost all on-line sounds, productions, and shows.

Does [the mind] hear -35-45 dB?

Nobody can hear -35dB. That’s a digital measurement. To hear it you have to convert it into sound and start using Sound Pressure Level to measure it. SPL uses positive values. There is no direct conversion between the two measurements standards.

Are you working up to a question about subliminal production? That’s the impression I get. Subliminally, of course.


Hi Murad.
(1) “[the] subconscious mind hears”. The subconscious mind is a concept, not a real thing. Generally refers to humans or animals minds in general.
(2) If you are wondering about Your subconscious mind, and if you live in a large city (for example Toronto, London. Paris and so on), take up on an offer to visit one of those hearing-aid places that offer a free examination, sit for the exam, and then ask questions of the technical staff there. I learned a lot that way.
Cheers, Chris

It is your ears that are the determining factor. Sound is funnelled into your head by the outer ear (“Pinna”), which causes the eardrums to vibrate. The vibration is transmitted through a bone linkage to the inner ear, where it is converted into electrical nerve signals. The nerves transmit the signals to your brain, and that’s where the really interesting thing happens. Either you notice the sound (you are conscious of it) or you don’t (subconscious).

The threshold of hearing (“auditory threshold”) is the sound pressure level (“SPL”) at which the ears produce a nerve response. This level is dependent on frequency, air pressure, temperature, and of course, how good the person’s hearing is. 0dB SPL is defined as 20 μPa, which is 0.98 pW/m2 at 1 atmosphere and 25 °C, and is approximately the auditory threshold for a young person with good hearing.

Note that signal levels in Audacity (or any recorded signal) are not the same as “sound pressure level”. The sound pressure level on playback depends on how much the headphones / speakers are turned up. (Turn your headphones off, and they don’t produce any sound).

And just when you thought it was safe…

Sound Pressure Levels have flavors. dB-A and dB-C are the popular ones. dB-C is more or less flat across most sounds with no contouring, emphasis, or distortions.

dB-A responds the same way your ear does with high sensitivity in the middle sound tones and less sensitivity as sound pitch gets higher and lower. Most laws, standards, and regulations are written in “A”. You know what “A” is. Baby screaming on a jet is a perfect dB-A sound. Fingernails on blackboard.

I bring this up because there is a home production defect that falls into this camp. Sometimes when you connect a modest, affordable computer to an modest, affordable microphone, you can get a distortion that sounds like frying mosquitos in the background of your voice. It’s electrically not very loud, but it’s insanely annoying because it’s a dB-A sound. Regular Noise Reduction isn’t strong enough and we designed a special software filter to get rid of it.

That’s the kind of sound that will mess up your threshold of perception numbers.