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34

Yes, we can. By means of bone conduction we can hear up to 50 kHz, and values up to 150 kHz have been reported in the young (Pumphrey, 1950). However, it is indeed generally agreed that 20 kHz is the upper acoustical hearing limit through air conduction. The reason for this is debated, but the transfer function of the middle ear ossicle chain is a suspected ...


27

Hearing declines with age and, typically, high frequencies are affected first. Age-related hearing loss (or presbyacusis (Kujawa & Liberman, 2006)) is progressive and starts at the highest frequencies and as a person ages the lower frequencies are affected. The reduction in hearing sensitivity is caused by the loss of hair cells. Hair cells are sensory ...


12

The Cicada A careful study of the noise-making apparatus of the cicada can be found in a 1994 paper by Young and Bennet-Clark.$^1$ The authors generated sounds at about 0-16 kHz at peaks on the order of 100 dB using cicadas in various stages of deconstruction. The cicada uses a resonant organ-system called the tymbal which buckles and unbuckles rapidly to ...


9

Short answer The exact mechanism behind tinnitus (ringing in the ear) is unknown. Background Of the two theories you pose here, to the best of my knowledge the second one is the most widely accepted. It is a generally accepted phenomenon that whenever neural systems are being deprived of input, they start seeking new input, or even generate it ...


7

Although tinnitus is usually described as a ringing in the ear, there's a whole range of tunes, buzzes, whooshing sounds, humming and hissing sounds that are described of as tinnitus. The sounds can either genuinely be there or be perceived to be there. If it is genuinely there it suggests muscles ate at play or some blood vessel disease if the sounds are in ...


7

In this instance, I would say your attention has been adjusted, not your ear's ability to perceive sound. Our ears don't have a control setting or a means of adjusting incoming sound levels (though I'm certain when an ambulance with loud siren drives by, we all wish we did). What you are experiencing is a prioritization of the sound by your brain in ...


7

There are strong connections between the auditory cortex and the limbic system, which includes such structures as the hippocampus and the amygdala. A recent paper [1] builds on earlier notions of emotional "significance" of music without any lyrics. It adds in lyrics, so giving a perspective of which portions of the brain are reacting to which component of ...


6

There are several ways to infer into the propagation delays of auditory system in vivo that is applicable to humans (i.e. leaves the subjects intact). One of them is so-called ABR that stands for Auditory Brainstem Response. As it is clear from its name this method allows you to derive the brainstem response to an auditory stimulus (so, you can track the ...


6

I will provide an answer in 2 parts. The first part is a theoretical approach based on the absolute possible minimum (my original answer). The second part focuses on experiments in the peripheral auditory system (added edited answer). PART I: Absolute theoretical minimum (original answer) As you inquire about electrical signals in the auditory human system ...


6

If all the processes through which a signal passes are linear, then it makes sense to speak in terms of a maximum useful-content frequency. If a signal passes through non-linear stages, however, it is possible that frequency content which would in and of itself be above the range of hearing, may interact with other frequency content which is also above that ...


5

It's a phenomenon called Frisson. From the wikipedia page. Frisson (French for 'shiver') is a sensation somewhat like shivering, usually caused by stimuli. It is typically expressed as an overwhelming emotional response combined with piloerection (goosebumps). Stimuli that produce a response are specific to the individual. Frisson is of short ...


5

+1 for giving a solid answer to @AP, but being older I've had friends who have had tinnitus and I'd like to add some notes to try to flesh this out a bit. I don't think tinnitus is the result of nerve damage usually. Nearly everybody experiences episodic tinnitus at one point or another. When exposed to a loud sound or a blow to the head can cause it. ...


5

Yes, of course they can. What happens when your ears feel 'full' like on an aeroplane is that the air pressure in the middle ear is different from the air pressure outside. When you 'pop' your ears, you push open the Eustachian tubes that connect the middle ear to the throat and make the pressure equal. No matter what the air pressure, the air still conducts ...


5

From what I could gather, there is a decent amount of variability in the ability to detect which direction sound is coming from in unilateral hearing impaired people. It would appear that some people have severely impaired localization skills, akin to someone with an earplug in one ear, but others can use their monaural hearing cues to better locate sound. ...


5

Short answer Echolocating bats have relatively large sensory epithelia in their inner ear, that may correlate with their high upper frequency limit of up to 200 kHz. The basilar membrane is thinner and stiffer, possibly allowing it to decode higher frequencies. Background In terms of the place theory of hearing, the cochlea acts as a frequency transformer, ...


4

Good question. To understand it perfectly, you'll need a good reference to a text on detailed explanation of sound conduction by the ear ossicles in reptiles and humans. I couldn't find anything better than these here and here. But these are partly inadequate in addressing your questions and are a bit involved in the physics used. But, if we leave the ...


4

Misophonia Misophonia is a relatively unexplored chronic condition in which a person experiences autonomic arousal (analogous to an involuntary “fight-or-flight” response) to certain innocuous or repetitive sounds such as chewing, pen clicking, and lip smacking. Misophonics report anxiety, panic, and rage when exposed to trigger sounds, ...


4

This is a fascinating case of sensory adaptation and neural adaptation. Another example of this would be when you stop smelling something after being exposed to it for long periods of time (as you probably know, this "long period of time" happens to only be a few minutes). A great representation of this happening with the nerves in the skin was done by Georg ...


3

This phenomenon is called Ototoxicity, which literally means "toxic for the ear". Mostly the cochlea or the auditory nerve are affected and almost all these cases are connected to medications as gentamicin or cisplatin. The reasons for this are that the cells are either driven into apoptosis or necrosis. This is caused by destroying mitochondria and ...


3

The head-related transfer function. Sound coming from front, and from back differ because of the human body's asymmetry in the vertical direction where the biaural cues such as inter-aural timing and intensity differences are identical. The shape of the ear, and body is necessary for this perception, but eventually, the signal must be analyzed by the brain ...


3

Short answer Perceived tinnitus pitch tends to resemble the frequency content of the loud sound that induced the tinnitus. Background Solid, laboratory-controlled studies to the perceived pitch of temporary, noise-induced tinnitus ("ringing in the ears") are ethically questionable, because researchers have to deliberately expose study subjects to ...


3

It is called a frisson, and actually, there has been a study about it, available here. The frisson is kind of the same you get from cold weather, fear, or... well, other things not suitable to discuss if not knowing how old people reading this might be. Actually, they found that this works best if you include familiarity. In their case, asking study ...


3

Short answer Hearing threshold is 0 dB SPL at 1 kHz, and pain threshold is around 125 dB SPL at that frequency. Background Loudness thresholds depend on acoustic frequency (pitch), as depicted in the following figure: Loudness contours in human. Source: Stanford Uni When expressed in dB sound pressure level (dB SPL) the threshold of pain is approximately ...


2

Music and Emotions The most difficult problem in answering the question of how music creates emotions is likely to be the fact that assignments of musical elements and emotions can never be defined clearly. The solution of this problem is the Theory of Musical Equilibration. It says that music can't convey any emotion at all, but merely volitional ...


2

Humans do not have the ability to move their outer ear in response to sound. Many animals can do that, and use it to determine the source of the sound waves. Thus, human outer ears are equipped with many "hills and valleys". It does not provide amplification (because the waves can lose their energy bouncing around the ridges), but rather gives the brain more ...


2

Taken from "24/192 Music Downloads... and why they make no sense": Sampling rate and the audible spectrum I'm sure you've heard this many, many times: The human hearing range spans 20Hz to 20kHz. It's important to know how researchers arrive at those specific numbers. First, we measure the 'absolute threshold of hearing' across the entire ...


2

You are mixing up hair cells and hair. Hair cells in the cochlea (wiki) have tiny stereocilia (subcellular organelles) that sense vibrations approaching the atomic scale. These are then translated in hyperpolarizing or depolarizing currents that drive the spiral ganglion cells of the auditory nerve. The 'hairs' on the hair cells will not readily benefit from ...


2

Apparently some (small amount of) tinnitus is caused by, or at least associated with, otoacoustic emissions. This paper covers the link if you are interested. If you want a great talk that generally covers the molecular mechanisms behind hearing, I highly recommend this one by James Hudspeth. This covers a ton of material, including otoacoustic emissions, ...


2

Copied from my comment: It just means a sound that starts at a low frequency and goes up to a higher frequency like a whistle sound. Perhaps someone can give you an example sound file and/or a spectrogram representation of it.



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