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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ears and hearing - The ear and perception of sound

The study of the structure of the ear is a study in physiology. The study of human perception of sound comes under the general heading of psychology.

Psychoacoustics is an inclusive term embracing the physical structure of the ear, the sound pathways, the perception of sound, and their interrelationships. Psychoacoustics, quite a recent term, is especially pertinent to this study because it emphasizes both structure and function of the human ear.

The stimulus sound wave striking the ear sets in motion mechanical movements that result in neuron discharges that find their way to the brain and create a sensation. Then comes the question,

How are these sounds recognized and interpreted ?

In spite of vigorous research activities on all aspects of human hearing, our knowledge is still woefully incomplete.

Sensitivity of the Ear

The delicate and sensitive nature of our hearing can be underscored dramatically by a little experiment. A bulky door of an anechoic chamber is slowly opened, revealing extremely thick walls, and three-foot wedges of glass fiber, points inward, lining all walls, ceiling, and what could be called the floor, except that you walk on an open steel grill work. A chair is brought in, and you sit down. This experiment takes time, and as a result of prior briefing, you lean back, patiently counting.

The Ear and the Perception of Sound - Alton Everest (from The Master Handbook Of Acoustics):

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