What Are the Differences between Light Waves and Sound waves?

Last Updated on January 7, 2022 by QCity Editorial Stuff

Sound waves are a form of mechanical vibration that is transferred from some object to the ear. These vibrations can be audible or inaudible and may occur as a result of a person’s voice, a musical instrument, thunder, or an earthquake. A sound wave can be heard by placing a set of headphones onto the speakers and turning on the sound. Light waves are electromagnetic radiation that occurs as light is created.

Light and sound waves are both physical phenomena that can be detected by our senses. However, when it comes to how they affect the human body, there are some distinct differences between these two types of waves. Sound waves travel through a medium such as air, water, or ground to reach your ear. Light waves travel in a straight line from their source and do not require a medium.

Have you ever wondered what the differences between light waves and sound waves are? If so, here are five of those differences. Light waves are faster than sound waves. Sound waves can pass through solid objects while light cannot. Sound waves spread out as they move, but light doesn’t. Finally, sound can be both heard and felt while light cannot be felt.

Comparison between Light Waves and Sound waves?

Parameters of Comparison  Light WavesSound waves
TravelTravel in wavesTravel in waves
FasterLess fasterFaster
WavesLight waves are transverse wavesSound waves are longitudinal waves
FrequencyLower frequencyHigher frequency

What are Light Waves?

Light is a form of electromagnetic radiation that consists of waves that oscillate at a range of frequencies visible to the human eye. Light waves can be seen because they have energy and wavelengths that correspond to the frequency visible to humans. For light waves to be classified as a certain frequency, they must have a wavelength equal to or lower than 400 nm. The main difference between infrared and ultraviolet light is the frequency visible.

Every day we use light waves in various ways. Light waves are the basic form of electromagnetic radiation. They can be utilized for several purposes such as providing illumination and heat. For example, you might find light waves from the sun to be too intense and use an umbrella or sunscreen to diffuse them, or you might want to adjust your thermostat to regulate how warm it is in your home.

Light waves are how we see. They are very small and can pass through objects, such as raindrops or windows. Light waves scatter off of other surfaces as well, such as our skin. This makes it possible for us to see objects that may not be in direct sunlight, such as a person’s face in a shadow.

What Are the Differences between Light Waves and Sound waves?

What are Sound waves?

Sound waves are the pressure that is released by the air through sound. They are produced by all objects that have a vibration, which then emits a wave of compression and expansion in the air particles. This is an example of what happens when someone claps their hands. The sound waves can be sensed by humans when they reach one’s eardrums, which are sensitive so they can detect the heartbeat or loudness of sounds.

Sound waves are vibrations that travel through the air and other materials. When an object makes a sound, it vibrates and sends out sound waves in all directions. These waves bump into objects and cause them to shake too. The waves then bump into more objects, spreading the vibration until it reaches your ear. Some things that make sound are your voice, drums, snaps on a snare, clapping hands- these are all examples of sound sources.

Many people are unaware of the sound waves that surround them daily, but they are important to understanding the world around us. Sound has waves that travel through the air and other substances at a particular speed. The frequencies of these waves determine what we hear or see as well as our perception of the environment.

What Are the Differences between Light Waves and Sound waves?

10 Differences between Light Waves and Sound waves

1. Sound waves and light waves are different, but they both travel in waves.

2. Sound waves travel much faster than light waves.

3. Sound waves are longitudinal waves, which means that the vibration is in a single direction.

4. Light waves are transverse waves, which means that the vibration is at right angles to the direction of propagation.

5. Light waves have a lower frequency than sound waves.

6. Sound waves have a much higher frequency than light waves.

7. Light waves are made up of photons, which are tiny particles of light.

8. Sound waves are made up of molecules of air that vibrate.

9. Sound waves are longitudinal and light waves are transverse.

Interesting Statistics or Facts of Light Waves

1. Light waves are one of the most basic phenomena in nature.

2. The frequency of light waves varies from infra-red to ultraviolet.

3. The light waves are electromagnetic radiation.

4. The speed of light waves is equal to 299.879 km per second.

5. The speed of light waves is the same in all inertial frames of reference.

6. Some of the light waves are created in a laboratory.

7. The light waves are not particles.

8. The spreading of light waves can be described by a theory of Special Relativity.

9. The light waves are not affected by electric or magnetic fields.

10. The light waves have a dual nature, particle, and wave.

Interesting Statistics or Facts of Sound waves

1. Sound waves are vibrations that travel through the air.

2. The frequency of a sound wave determines the pitch.

3. The amplitude of the sound wave determines the volume.

4. The human ear can hear frequencies ranging from 20 Hz to 20000 Hz.

5. We can also hear changes in frequency as we get older.

6. Sound, light, and electricity are all energy.

7. Sound travels through air, water, and most materials.

8. Sound travels at different speeds in different materials.

9. Sound waves are reflected by different materials in different ways.

10. Sound is all around us, but we don’t always hear it.


In conclusion, light waves and sound waves are very different in many ways, the most prominent of which is their speed. Light waves travel at a rate of 300,000 km per second whereas sound waves travel at around 343 m/s. This has something to do with the density of the medium through which the waves are traveling. The differences between these two types of waves can be seen when observing rainbows and seismic activity.



Resource 01: https://www.wwu.edu/astro101/a101_lightwaves.shtml
Resource 02: https://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/sound/u11l1c.cfm

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