for a complete beginner's intro to the fascinating world of neuroscience.
As we age, our auditory sensitivity often declines, and the average decline is perhaps a lot more than you might think!
A few technical glitches here I'm afraid. The battery of the microphone ran out after 55 minutes, and the battery of the video recorder after 61 minutes, so there is a little bit missing at the end. Still, I hope you'll find this useful.
In this informative and touching short video, Helen, who has been living with a cochlear implant for over a decade, tells her story. The implant enables her to take part in the hearing world at a very high level, studying at a top university for a demanding science degree, and even taking part in a dance sport team. But in the video Helen is also honest about the limitations of the technology, and reminds us that the implantation is a fairly major surgical intervention - nobody's idea of fun.
This podcast by science journalist Dr Carinne Piekema explores how hearing loss affects people, in particular how it affects musicians, and what modern prosthetic devices such as hearing aids or cochlear implants can and cannot do for these patients. It contains insightful interviews with inspirational deaf musicians, some of the UKs leading hearing researchers, as well as simulations designed to show to normal listeners what it would be like to have to rely on a hearing aid or a cochlear implant.
You can listen to the podcast here,
As explained in the section on modes of vibration. most natural sound sources will not emit pure tones, but sounds composed of many, often harmonically related frequencies. Now, some texts on hearing will tell you that the pitch of a sound is "related to the sound's frequency", but if a sound contains many (possibly harmonically related) frequencies then it may not be at all obvious which of the sound's frequencies determines the pitch.
Early hearing aids were often simple "ear trumpets" designed to funnel sound to the ear over a larger area to amplify the sound. But the users of hearing aids have always been concerned about the cosmetic side effects of their devices.
Hearing can fail in many ways, and to some extent, becoming hard of hearing is an unfortunate but inevitable consequence of normal ageing processes. Given how much our society relies on verbal communication, losing the ability to hear clearly can be devastating.
Noise vocoded speech is sometimes used to simulate what speech would sound like through a cochlear implant. These sound files give an example of normal (well, fairly normal, British) English speech, and the same speech passed through an 8 channel vocoder. The speech is somewhat "rough", but comprehensible with some practice, at least if there is not too much other background noise.