Introduction and overview

Paul A. Fuchs

in Oxford Handbook of Auditory Science: The Ear

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780199233397
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Introduction and overview

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Psychology


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This article briefly outlines the structure and function of the auditory periphery. It intends to introduce the fundamental mechanisms that underlie the function of the auditory periphery. The more the inner workings of the ear are probed into, the more wondrous seem to be capacities, and the biological mechanisms underlying them. The article describes these mechanisms in detail. Two tasks that are central to peripheral auditory function are: conversion of the mechanical energy carried by airborne sounds into bioelectrical signals, and coding the information content of those sounds by frequency filtering. Multiple elements combine to meet these challenges, ranging from middle-ear mechanics. The article briefly overviews the structure and function of the external, middle, and inner ear, its development, repair, and genetics, aiming to provide a better understanding of the intricate machinery of the auditory periphery.

Keywords: auditory periphery; ear; auditory function; airborne sounds; bioelectric signals; frequency filtering

Article.  6422 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience ; Cognitive Psychology

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