Spatial hearing

John F. Culling and Michael A. Akeroyd

in Oxford Handbook of Auditory Science: Hearing

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780199233557
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Spatial hearing

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
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Spatial hearing is the capacity of the auditory system to interpret or exploit different spatial paths by which sounds may reach the head. This article concerns spatial hearing; how people localize sound sources using binaural and monaural cues, and how they use echoes and reverberation to tell about the nature of the listening space. Using spatial hearing, the auditory system can determine the location of a sound source and ‘unmask’ sounds otherwise obscured by noise. It can also orient attention towards or away from a sound source. Spatial hearing is almost-entirely underpinned by ‘binaural’ hearing: the comparison of the signal at one ear with the other ear. These comparisons are reflected in terms of differences between time and level and are termed, interaural time difference and interaural level difference and are the basis of all binaural processing and are fundamental to nearly all spatial hearing.

Keywords: spatial hearing; spatial paths; listening space; unmask; interaural time difference; interaural level difference

Article.  11622 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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