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Binaural Hearing: Why it matters

 

Binaural literally means "having or relating to two ears." Binaural hearing.

 

Binaural hearing means better hearing.

Nature gave us two ears for a reason: Hearing with both ears, or natural binaural hearing, helps localize sound sources and understand speech in difficult listening situations like cocktail parties and being outside on a windy day. It is essential for spatial awareness and filtering out unwanted noises.

A few of the most important binaural processes include binaural redundancy, binaural squelch, and binaural directed listening.

Natural binaural hearing

The localization of sound is an essential part of natural binaural hearing. But how can our brain exactly pinpoint a sound source?

Due to disturbances in the air, sound travels in waves. This is why a sound closer to one ear reaches this ear a bit louder and slightly ahead of the other ear. By combining the different information on time and loudness from both ears, our brain can precisely pinpoint a sound source. This makes natural binaural hearing especially helpful for orientation in noisy environments like traffic situations.

Binaural redundancy

Our brain combines the input from both ears to create a central perception that is better than the individual signals.

Binaural squelch

Binaural squelch enables our brain to clearly separate a speech signal from background noise and to give it more prominence for better speech understanding.

Binaural directed listening

With binaural directed listening, our brain can focus on one specific sound source while suppressing all others – even when there is a mix of many sounds.

 

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