Difference Between Inaudible and Audible

The words Inaudible and Audible are both adjectives and seemingly quite opposite in meaning, but a mere glance into their underlying differences reveals how greatly they differ in the meanings they imply, and why their usage must be more thoughtful than it usually is.

The article below demonstrates these differences, along with a table that establishes concrete points.

Inaudible vs Audible

The main difference between Inaudible and Audible is that Inaudible is something that isn’t loud enough to be heard by us. On the other hand, the Audible is something that we’re capable of hearing. While both words make up a pair of antonyms, they’re adjectives that describe the clarity of a particular sound.

Inaudible vs Audible

Inaudible, an adjective, means something that cannot be heard, or is not loud enough to be heard.

An antonym of audible, the word’s usage indicates that we’re unable to hear a particular sound, or in other words, that the given sound is deemed imperceptible by our ears.

Audible is something that can be heard, a sound that is perceptible enough to decipher its identity (source of origin, the message it contains, etc.).

However, in its traditional sense, it only means that people close to the source will be able to grasp the stimulus and that it won’t be propagative.

Comparison Table Between Inaudible and Audible

Parameters of ComparisonInaudibleAudible
Implied MeaningSomething that cannot be heardSomething that we’re able to hear
Event of UsageConversations, animal soundsConversations
Scope of InferenceThe scope of Inference is NegligibleThe scope of any kind of inference is pretty high.
The proximity between Source & ListenerThe distance between source and listener is Less.The Distance between listener and source is More
Used asAdjectiveAdjective, noun, verb

What is Inaudible?

Inaudible, an adjective, basically refers to something that cannot be heard in any minimum capacity whatsoever, and that the involved sounds are so feeble to the listener that they’re fundamentally imperceptible to their ears.

The adjective primarily refers to any event that involves the exchange of sounds, for example, conversations.

An antonym for audible, inaudible refers to something that is not loud enough to be heard by humans, in the sense that it’s almost unrecognizable and would go undetected.

Deemed as impossible to hear, something that’s labeled inaudible isn’t loud enough to be heard by us, and thereby would likely go unnoticed. 

The word ‘Inaudible’ is often defined as something impossible to hear, given that it’s not exactly clear enough to be heard, and doesn’t even cross the bare minimum limit that ensures audibility.

Thus, it is used about sounds that generally do not fall in the range of sounds that are audible to humans, but more so because the distance between the source of sound and the listener exceeds the ideal limit that would ensure audibility.

To encapsulate the above facts, the word inaudible shall be used for events that aren’t deemed perceptible via our auditory senses.

What is Audible?

Audible is defined as something that we can hear, but only in the sense that we’re able to detect the sounds and the involved messages in a minimal capacity, and do not receive the stimulus in a way that provides us complete clarity about the included data.

Deemed as something perceptible to our ears, something that’s audible is loud enough for people to decipher who’s near the source of the sound, but it won’t be loud enough to propagate and be understandable till a farther distance.

When something is audible, it is perceptible to our ears in a way that we recognize the tone, style, and type of verbal communication, or the kind of sound it is, but usually, it’s difficult to understand the exact message contained in such an auditory stimulus, and subsequently, it’s challenging to get complete clarity of the corresponding sound.

Thus, when attempting to establish a complete answer to ‘What is Audible?’, it would be safe to say that it is a sound whose existence is easily recognized by our ears, but it doesn’t mean that we’d be able to understand the exact meaning of that piece of information.

Main Difference Inaudible and Audible

  1. Inaudible refers to something practically impossible to hear, whereas Audible refers to something that is recognizable but doesn’t provide complete clarity.
  2. Inaudible events go unnoticed given that they’re imperceptible to our ears, but Audible events provide us with a hint of what the communication might be about.
  3. Something that is not loud enough for us to be heard is deemed Inaudible, but when the sounds are recognizable and the auditory stimulus makes sense (even to a bare minimum), we can deem it as Audible.
  4. Both Inaudible and Audible events can comprise conversations between humans and even animal sounds of frequencies we can’t hear, but the difference here lies between the proximity between the source and the listener. Generally, sources in Inaudible events are way farther than those of Audible events.
  5. Inaudible is used only as an adjective but Audible can be used as an adjective, noun, and verb.
Difference Between Inaudible and Audible


Concluding through the aforementioned facts, it is quite evident that though the words Inaudible and Audible are established antonyms, they differ in ways other than their primary meanings.

A proper understanding of these underlying differences is essential for anyone who means to ensure their proper usage in contexts that demand it specifically.

Inaudible and Audible are both adjectives and while the former refers to the kind of auditory stimulus that practically goes unnoticed and is deemed to be impossible to hear, the latter refers to events that provide listeners with certain hints about the piece of information.

When something is perceived as audible, listeners generally get a sense of what the information is really about and they can also judge the speaker’s opinion about it to a certain extent. However, it’s almost impossible to get complete clarity on the event.


  1. https://asa.scitation.org/doi/abs/10.1121/1.3438479
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7079711/
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