Hearing (sense)


Hearing (sense)

Hearing (or audition) is one of the traditional five senses. It is the ability to perceive sound by detecting vibrations via an organ such as the ear. The inability to hear is called deafness.

In humans and other vertebrates, hearing is performed primarily by the auditory system: vibrations are detected by the ear and transduced into nerve impulses that are perceived by the brain (primarily in the temporal lobe). Like touch, audition requires sensitivity to the movement of molecules in the world outside the organism. Both hearing and touch are types of mechanosensation. [cite journal | author = Kung C. | title = A possible unifying principle for mechanosensation | journal = Nature | url = http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v436/n7051/full/nature03896.html | volume = 436 | issue = 7051 | pages = 647–654 | date = 2005 Aug 4 | doi = 10.1038/nature03896]

Hearing tests

Hearing can be measured by behavioral tests using an audiometer. Electrophysiological tests of hearing can provide accurate measurements of hearing thresholds even in unconscious subjects. Such tests include auditory brainstem evoked potentials (ABR), otoacoustic emissions (OAE) and electrocochleography (EchoG). Technical advances in these tests have allowed hearing screening for infants to become widespread.

Hearing underwater

Hearing threshold and the ability to localize sound sources are reduced underwater, in which the speed of sound is faster than in air. Underwater hearing is by bone conduction, and localization of sound appears to depend on differences in amplitude detected by bone conduction. [cite journal | author = Shupak A. Sharoni Z. Yanir Y. Keynan Y. Alfie Y. Halpern P. | title = Underwater Hearing and Sound Localization with and without an Air Interface | url = http://otology-neurotology.com/pt/re/otoneuroto/abstract.00129492-200501000-00023.htm;jsessionid=Hn3GlTRJcB530CTrCxLlgrJLhv6WyCvpgcBmC0FLJCLWgY5yckpm!1138671057!181195629!8091!-1?index=1&database=ppvovft&results=1&count=10&searchid=1&nav=search | journal = Otology & Neurotology | volume = 26 | issue = 1 | pages = 127–130 | date = 2005 Jan. | doi = 10.1097/00129492-200501000-00023]

Hearing in animals

Not all sounds are normally audible to all animals. Each species has a range of normal hearing for both loudness (amplitude) and pitch (frequency). Many animals use sound to communicate with each other, and hearing in these species is particularly important for survival and reproduction. In species that use sound as a primary means of communication, hearing is typically most acute for the range of pitches produced in calls and speech.

Frequencies capable of being heard by humans are called audio or sonic. The range is typically considered to be between 15Hz and 20,000Hz. [cite web | url = http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2003/ChrisDAmbrose.shtml | title = Frequency Range of Human Hearing | work = The Physics Factbook] Frequencies higher than audio are referred to as ultrasonic, while frequencies below audio are referred to as infrasonic. Some bats use ultrasound for echo location while in flight. Dogs are able to hear ultrasound, which is the principle of 'silent' dog whistles. Snakes sense infrasound through their bellies, and whales, giraffes and elephants use it for communication.

References

See also

* Audiogram
* Audiometry
* Auditory illusion
* Auditory brainstem response (ABR) test
* Auditory scene analysis
* Auditory system
* Cochlear implant
* Equal-loudness contour
* Hearing impairment
* Hearing range
* Missing fundamental
* Music
* Music and the brain
* Presbycusis
* Tinnitus

External links

* [http://www.egopont.com/hearing_tests.php Egopont hearing range test]


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