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Das Räumliche Hören

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Every person of normal hearing associates with each sound perception a sense of direction as well as of distance from the source. To explain this effect it is necessary to consider the problem under the following aspects:

1. “Left—right” perception,

2. “In front—behind” perception,

3. “Above—below” perception,

4. “Near—far” perception,

5. Pure tones, noises, short impulses,

6. Physical—physiological effects.

The “left — right” perception is to be traced to time and intensity differences in the excitation of the two ears which both act in the same sense and support each other. It is possible to show how with pure tones these two effects, i. e. time and intensity differences, operate. Damped tones, short pulses and noises give a sharper and better distinguished direction perception than sustained tones. As a result of some researches herein described one can say that in perceiving “in front—behind” and “above—below” the sound spectra which are set up in the eardrum are important. These are not exact copies of the spectra of the sounds as they are received at the head because the latter with its sound-shadows and the ear muscles distort the sound in a quite characteristic way, depending on the direction of arrival of the sound rays. Our subconsciousness has, from long experience, the faculty to interpret these distortions into perceptions of sound direction in space. Turning the head and the resulting change in relative direction perception helps and increases the perception of direction.

For the perception of “near—far” the opinion of v. Békésy is supported, i.e. that the spectrum apprehended in our subconsciousness gives the appreciation of distance.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1953

More about this publication?
  • Acta Acustica united with Acustica, published together with the European Acoustics Association (EAA), is an international, peer-reviewed journal on acoustics. It publishes original articles on all subjects in the field of acoustics, such as general linear acoustics, nonlinear acoustics, macrosonics, flow acoustics, atmospheric sound, underwater sound, ultrasonics, physical acoustics, structural acoustics, noise control, active control, environmental noise, building acoustics, room acoustics, acoustic materials, acoustic signal processing, computational and numerical acoustics, hearing, audiology and psychoacoustics, speech, musical acoustics, electroacoustics, auditory quality of systems. It reports on original scientific research in acoustics and on engineering applications. The journal considers scientific papers, technical and applied papers, book reviews, short communications, doctoral thesis abstracts, etc. In irregular intervals also special issues and review articles are published.
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