The sense of hearing is essential for human communication. In this module we investigate the extraordinary capabilities and limitations of the human sense of hearing. Starting with the outer, middle and inner ear, we will investigate the anatomical and physiological functions of the whole auditory pathway up to the primary auditory cortex. At each stage we will discuss potential problems that can lead to hearing loss. We will learn about the psychophysical abilities of normally hearing people and how these capabilities deteriorate in the hearing impaired. We will discuss how signal processing in hearing aids can overcome some, but not all of these limitations.
The module is essential for all students learning about audiology, hearing sciences and communication sciences. It is also suitable for engineering students with an interest in acoustics, effects of noise on people, audio or biomedical signal processing as well as for students seeking an understanding of sound perception and speech communication.