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The University of Southampton

AUDI6009 Physiology and Psychology of Hearing

Module Overview

This module is relates to the basic physiological and psychological processes involved in hearing and tinnitus, and is suitable for those pursuing clinical training in audiology or research training in hearing and communication science.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• To introduce you to basic concepts in acoustics necessary to understand hearing and tinnitus. • To introduce the anatomy and physiology of the auditory system. • To introduce you to the capabilities of the auditory system that define normal hearing in quantitative terms and how those capabilities are measured. • To show you how these processes and capabilities are affected by the most common forms of hearing disorder and the consequences for auditory performance.

Learning Outcomes

Disciplinary Specific Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • A - Explain the structure and function of the principal components of the human auditory system, the ways in which they are functionally integrated with each other and the bases of common forms of hearing impairment and tinnitus in terms of appropriate acoustical, engineering and biological principles.
  • B - Explain the principal capabilities and limitations of human hearing and basic consequences of common forms of hearing loss in terms of appropriate acoustical, engineering and psychological principles.
  • C - Critically evaluate the common methods used to investigate human hearing and tinnitus.
  • D - Critically evaluate scientific literature on hearing to infer the consequences of pathophysiological states of the auditory system on human hearing and potential rehabilitation strategies.


• To introduce you to basic acoustics required to understand the module. • To describe the anatomy of the outer, middle and inner ears and their relationship to the bones of the skull. • To provide you with an understanding of the function of the outer, middle and inner ear based on established and emerging theory. • To introduce current concepts of the anatomy and physiology of the central auditory nervous system. • To relate the consequences of physiological dysfunction to features of hearing loss and tinnitus in humans. • To introduce you to the domains that define the physical characteristics of sound (intensity, frequency, time, direction) and the corresponding perceptual domains (loudness, pitch, temporal characteristic, localisation/lateralisation). • To describe the psychophysical methods used to measure the various auditory capabilities including speech recognition and by demonstration develop your awareness of the tasks involved. • To describe the main theories related to detection and discrimination of sounds and develop your appreciation of the statistical nature of detection and discrimination tasks. • To define the range of normal hearing so that you can evaluate individual cases to identify and describe deviations from normality. • To describe the consequences of the most common forms of hearing disorder in terms of auditory capabilities, tinnitus and speech recognition performance to enable you to evaluate the consequences for individual cases. • To introduce you to primary research literature to show how the methods described in the module are used in leading-edge studies.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Weekly lectures and tutorials, and fortnightly mini-assignments which will form discussion during tutorials and on which you will receive feedback during tutorials.

Completion of assessment task50
Wider reading or practice50
Preparation for scheduled sessions10
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

References. A list of references will be supplied at the beginning of the module.





MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment  () 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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