Essay about The And Perception Of Sound

Essay about The And Perception Of Sound

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Up until sound enters the ears, it is a physical phenomenon. Once it gets to the ears, however, it is strictly a matter of perception. What we are actually hearing can possibly differ than what we perceive we are hearing. This phenomenon can be attributed to psychoacoustics. Psychoacoustics explains the subjective response to everything we hear. It is the ultimate arbitrator in acoustical concerns because it is only our response to sound that fundamentally matters. Psychoacoustics seeks to reconcile acoustical stimuli and all the scientific, objective, and physical properties that surround them, with the physiological and psychological responses evoked by them. (www.music.miami.edu)
Even though psychoacoustics is the term attributed to the perception of sound, it goes hand in hand with two other phenomena: physiological acoustics and perception itself. These three occurrences affect the way one feels about a simple change in air pressure, also known as sound. First, physiological acoustics is the means of how the sound arrives to your ear. The shape of ones body and head plays a role in this. If a listener is deaf in one ear, than the extra distance a sound wave has to travel to arrive at the ear is contributed to physiological acoustics. After reaching the ear, the original sound has been modified to the listener due to these physiological obstacles. After the sound enters the ear, a further aspect of physiological acoustics is how that modified sound is treated within the body, and how the body transfers the acoustic energy into electrical energy, which is the sent to the listeners brain. Secondly, psychoacoustics has to do with a specific listeners hearing thresholds, how loud or soft something is, and localization of a sou...


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...the most important things the brain picks up on to determine the distance of a sound.  The relationship of the Interaural Time Difference and Interaural Amplitude Difference of the reflections and direct sound tell you both the location of the sound, as well as how far away it is.  As a sound source moves farther and farther away from a listener in a room, the direct sound becomes quieter and quieter, while the energy of the reflections in the room, or reverb, will overpower that direct sound.  This ratio of direct sound to reverberant sound helps the listener to determine how far away something is as well.  Finally, a sound loses some of its high frequency content the longer it travels through air.  If the listener is familiar with the sound source, the brain will recognize that the higher frequencies have been rolled off if the sound is coming from a long distance. 

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