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Cochlear Modeling as Time-Frequency Analysis Tool

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The cochlea of the human ear can be seen as nature's answer to the time-frequency resolution dilemma. Netten and Duifhuis [1] introduced a one-dimensional model of the movement of the basilar membrane. In this paper this model is compared with general time-frequency analysis.

Based upon the impulse response, the time-frequency resolution (as derived by Gabor [2]) of the model is calculated. It has values between ½ and 1. Next, the cochlear model is compared with wavelet analysis, showing a quite different behaviour of both. The ERB values of the model are also calculated. They are compared to the ERB values of the human auditory system as derived from masking experiments and show remarkable similarity. Finally, the impulse response of the model is compared to the gammatone filterbank, a much-used filterbank to simulate the impulse response of the auditory system. It is shown that although the time representation of the cochlear models' impulse response and the gammatone filterbank are quite similar, their time-frequency localisations are not similar at all. This suggests that although the gammatone filterbank looks like a good approximation of the human auditory system, it fails when it comes to time-frequency localisation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2006

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  • 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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