Fay, Richard R. Parmly Hearing Institute and Department of Psychology, Loyola University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.
Last reviewed:January 2020
- Auditory anatomy
- Hearing abilities
- Sound intensity discrimination
- Temporal pattern
- Sound source localization
- Frequency processing
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The ability to perceive sound arriving from distant vibrating sources through the environmental medium (such as air, water, or ground). The primary function of hearing is to detect the presence, identity, location, and activity of distant sound sources. Sound detection is accomplished using structures that collect sound from the environment (outer ears), transmit sound efficiently to the inner ears (via middle ears), transform mechanical motion to electrical and chemical processes in the inner ears (hair cells), and then transmit the coded information to various specialized areas within the brain. These processes lead to perception and other behaviors appropriate to sound sources, and probably arose early in vertebrate evolution.
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