Hearing Sciences
A blue right ear on the left and a PhD student putting headphones on a young participant on the right


‘Ear ‘ear! If a tree fell down in a forest and no one was around to hear it, would it make a sound?

Well, it depends on what we mean by sound. Is sound physical, something that happens outside the body? Or is sound something we sense to understand what is happening around us? Can it be both?

We listen with our ears. But how? Do our brains get involved? Does what we see affect what we hear? And just what on earth is ear wax for? To find out answers to these questions and more, come and join us in Hearing Sciences at the University of Nottingham and the Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre (BRC).

Welcome to the world of sound and hearing!

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought all of us more into the digital world. Face-to-face public events and festivals haven’t always been possible. We need to find new ways to share fun and interactive resources around hearing. We hope these webpages do that. Please have an explore and enjoy! 

Learn more about hearing



Here are some fun things do around sound and hearing.

Some are links to external sites which, while we have made every effort to make sure the links are accurate, up to date and relevant, we cannot take responsibility for sites hosted outside of the University of Nottingham.


Crossword Puzzle Maker
Answers to the crossword under here: no cheating!
 The answers to the crossword puzzle

Text answers:

3: earwax
4: brain
5: deaf
9: tinnitus
11: decibels
1: hearing aid
2: eardrum
6: cochlea
7: stapes
8: listen
10: pitch

Go on a sound walk

Next time you go to the park or take a walk in the woods, take some time to listen to the sounds around you.

What can you hear?

Was that a bird? Can you hear different bird calls?

Do you hear the wind?

Can you hear someone kicking a ball or laughing?

Can you hear a bee buzzing or are you lucky enough to hear a frog croaking at the pond? What about the rustling of your coat as you move your arms?

Can you tell how far away things are by the sound? Can some sounds make you feel happy?

Next time you are out, count how many different sounds you hear.

A young person walks down a leaf covered path through dense trees

Sounds inside your home

What can you think of that makes a sound inside your home? What if you couldn’t hear these sounds? What effect do you think this might have? Have a look around your home and jot down a list of things that make a noise. Then write a sentence or two about why it is useful to hear that sound or what could go wrong if you can’t. Download the sheet to get you started:

Sounds in the home worksheet - .docx (Word file) for editing on a device

Sounds in the home worksheet - .pdf (PDF file) for printing

Then, have a look at this video produced by the Hearing Dogs for Deaf People charity to find out how an assistance dog can really help people around the home:



When a word sounds like the noise it is describing, it is called onomatopoeia.

Fizz! Bang! Whizz! What words can you use to express the sound of something? Is it the ‘purr’ of your cat? The ‘roar’ of the wind? The ‘sizzle’ of sausages? The ‘ding dong’ of a doorbell?

BBC Bitesize Activities

BBC Bitesize has activities around sound and hearing for KS 1,2 & 3. Here are some KS2 examples:

What is onomatopoeia?

Sound words

Make your own comic strip and add sounds using onomatopoeia

We're going on a bear hunt!

Listen to all the sounds in the countryside as the adventurers bravely embark on their bear hunt.

The sound of the seaside

Why not have a go at writing your own sound poem?

The Noise, by Michael Rosen

Sounds are great, but sometimes your parents might want a bit of quiet!

Do you have a question about sound and hearing?

If you have a question about sound, hearing or any of the other topics we're covering here, you can ask it using this form and we'll get back to you with an answer.

Ask us a question using the form

See what we've answered so far

Connect with us

Hearing Sciences Twitter

Nottingham BRC Hearing Twitter

Nottingham BRC Hearing Facebook

External sites

Nottingham Festival of Science and Curiosity website

Switch On Life experiments

Hearing Sciences

Mental Health & Clinical Neuroscience
School of Medicine
University of Nottingham
Medical School, QMC
Nottingham, NG7 2UH

telephone: University Park +44 (0) 115 74 86900
Ropewalk House +44 (0) 115 82 32600
Glasgow +44 (0) 141 242 9665
email: hearing-research@nottingham.ac.uk