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This is a very good question
For when we hear two pure tones together WE HEAR BEATS
Of course the ear in nonlinear  so that explains that! ....... WRONG
Sine (A) + sine(b) is half the sine of A+B plius half the cosine of AB (or summat like that)
So the "beats" are REAL  in the air  even BEFORE some ear mangles them up.
The astounding BEAUTY of the whole thing is a pure tone AFTER being horribly mangled by our ear STILL SOUNDS GREAT (even if a little dull).
But the nerve signals sent to the brain are HORRENDOUS!