Diffraction

Diffraction

One of the interesting properties of sound waves is that they can diffract like the image below demonstrates.

 
Diffraction
 
The possibility of hearing around corners or barriers involves diffraction and reflection of sound. Diffraction is mostly associated with longer wave lengths as thus implies that you hear low frequencies than higher ones. This is also explained by the fact air absorbs higher frequencies better than lower ones. A lightning strike for instance has a high crackle with a longer low rumble.
 
Sound proofing rooms takes this into account and so the room has to be fully sealed because diffraction can disrupt a lot from the smallest gaps. This is a similar reason for loud speakers to be sealed so they maximise output. 
 
An interesting characteristic involving imaging. When a wavelength is longer than an obstacle, for instance a pillar means you can't see the obstacle. This is the same reason you can't see a virus under a light microscope because the virus is smaller than the waves of light. This is due to the bigger wavelength diffracting round the obstacle and reconstructing past it. 
See also: Refraction
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