Plural Publishing produces leading academic, scientific and clinical publications in the fields of speech-language pathology, audiology, and otolaryngology.


The Hearing Sciences

Second Edition
Teri A. Hamill, Lloyd L. Price
524 pages, Illustrated (B/W), Softcover, 7 x 10"
Included Media:
Companion Website
Release Date:
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The Hearing Sciences, Second Edition addresses all the topics critical to understanding the hearing sciences: acoustics, anatomy and physiology of the auditory and vestibular systems, psychoacoustics, and basic instrumentation.

Written in a straightforward approach, each chapter opens with an introduction of the key concepts and ends with a concise summary. The practical nature of the book is demonstrated in the "Clinical Correlates'' examples, which relate elements of the hearing sciences to patient care and engage students in the concepts.

The textbook is designed for undergraduate students--the more advanced chapters are useful supplementary material in graduate audiology programs--but through this book, students will gain invaluable insight into the hearing sciences before ever taking a course in audiology.

New to this edition:

  • New and improved illustrations
  • Updated information on cochlear physiology

An added bonus is in the companion website:, which contains support and extension activities to help students apply concepts to practice.


  • Vinaya K. C. Manchaiah, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK, International Journal of Audiology (2013):
    "This comprehensive book is aimed at covering a range of topics that are important in hearing sciences...[T]he new edition has significant improvements in some sections (e.g. cochlear physiology in section three). The preface contains good mapping of concepts to chapters in the book based on the depth of information discussed (i.e. introductory, intermediate, and advanced). The mapping also consists of some guides on prerequisite reading of earlier chapters to progress further in the book. Further, some additional materials and activities are available in a companion website These online materials are very easy to follow and could be particularly useful for students to apply concepts to practice...

    [I]t could also serve as a useful guide to post-graduate students and practicing clinicians to brush up their understanding on some of the concepts...[T]he biggest advantage of this book is that the wide range of concepts are clearly presented, making it an excellent source of information. In my view, this book can be rated with a score of 4 in a 5-point scale."

  • Ernest Moore, University of North Texas (2013):
    "Personally, I am very impressed with the book and proud to know Lloyd Price as a giant in the field when I was a student in Audiology."

  • Michael Pitcher, SUNY Cortland (2013):
    "What I appreciate the most about the text are two items: 1. The flexibility of use for Introductory, Intermediate and Advanced classes; 2. The clinical correlates."

  • Calum Delaney, Cardiff Metropolitan University (2013):
    "I think it is excellent, covering in breadth and some depth the background knowledge needed to make sense of clinical audiological practice. Durrant and Lovrinic Bases of Hearing Science has always been my favourite for this, being accessible but still thorough, but it is becoming increasingly out of date with respect to more recent findings. Hamill and Price offer a suitable replacement. Particularly helpful in their approach are the brief links made to clinical audiological practice, expansions and examples of concepts that aid understanding, and sensitivity to the sorts of things that sometimes mislead or cause confusion."

  • Signe Peitersen, AudiologyNow (Fall 2014):
    "This textbook is designed to give undergraduate students an overview of the Hearing Sciences. It has been laid out in an easy to read order, dividing the topics into four major sections: acoustics, instrumentation, anatomy and physiology of both the auditory and vestibular systems and psychoacoustics. Included as an Appendix is an overview of basic mathematics, which I found myself referring to often whilst reading this book! Each chapter contains a brief introduction, a “clinical correlate” in which the topic of the chapter is tied into a clinical scenario or pathology, and a succinct summary.

    [Section 1: Basic Acoustics and Instrumentation,] has 8 chapters, all of which are quite equation heavy, but everything is explained as if for an undergraduate student so it is easy to follow. Nothing was left untouched in this section and through the first few chapters the authors delved into basic physics, chemistry and maths, providing an excellent overview of the logarithmic scale, which is of course important for audiologists to know and understand....

    [The] two chapters [in Section 2: Introduction to Speech Acoustics] contain some excellent diagrams which pinpoint specific tongue, lip and vocal tract placements for various speech sounds....

    Chapter 17 delved into advanced cochlear anatomy and I found myself glued to the page (re)learning about “gap junctions” and how defects in their structure can lead to genetic hearing loss....

    And on a final note, the authors have created a self-test website with review questions and quizzes on which I spent a lot of time testing my own knowledge: - worth a visit."

  • Jenny Richardson, Audiologist, UK, ENT & Audiology News (December 2016):
    "This book proved to be a very interesting read. Aimed at undergraduate students, I feel that it delivers the key concepts of the hearing sciences in a straightforward manner for this audience. The book is filled with concise summaries of key topics and is well supported by clear diagrams. The authors highlight key words and add practical advice with 'clinical correlates' to show how the conceps can be used with real patients in a real clinic."

Acknowledgments and Dedication
About the Authors

Section one: Basic Acoustics and Instrumentation

Chapter 1. Physical Properties of Sound

  • Energy
  • Opposing Forces
  • Units of Measurement
  • Sound Energy
  • Comical Correlate: Einstein, Newton, and Pascal
  • Compression and Rarefaction
  • Frequency
  • Intensity
  • Limits of Human Frequency Detection
  • Summary

Chapter 2. Ratios, Logarithms, and Decibels

  • Ratios
  • Exponents
    • Positive Exponents
    • Negative Exponents
    • Zero Exponent
  • Laws of Exponents
    • Addition
    • Subtraction
    • Multiplication, Division, and Exponents of Exponents
  • Scientific Notation
    • Adding and Subtracting Numbers in Scientific Notation
  • Logarithms Are Based on Exponents
    • Logarithms of Numbers with Only 1 and 0
    • Logarithms of Numbers Other Than 1 and 0
  • Why Are Logs Important?
  • Antilogs
  • The Log of X Times Y
  • Log of (X Divided by Y)
  • Hints on Using the Calculator
  • Obtaining the Log of a Number That Is Raised to a Power
  • The Decibel
    • Power
    • Pressure
    • Practice at Calculating Sound Pressure Levels
    • Practice at Calculating Intensity Levels
    • Relative Powers and Pressures
    • Adding Decibels
  • Summary

Chapter 3. Further Examination of Properties of Sound

  • Speed of Sound Transmission
  • Wavelength
  • Period
  • Relationship of Period and Wavelength
  • Sound Transmission Effects
    • Diffraction and Reflection
    • Sound Absorption, Transmission Loss, and Reverberation Time
    • The Doppler Effect
    • Sonic Booms and Thunder
    • Temperature Changes Affect Speed of Sound
  • Types of Decibel Scales
    • Review of dB SPL and dB IL
    • dB Increase
    • dB HL and SL
  • Introduction to the Audiogram
  • Summary

Chapter 4. The Sine in Sine Waves and Other Types of Sound Waves

  • Triangles and Sines
  • Plotting Sine Waves
  • Simple Harmonic Motion, the Pendulum, and the Circle
  • Molecular Vibration and the Sine Wave
  • How We Calculate Relative Amplitude When Phase is Known
  • How We Calculate Phase When Time and Frequency Are Known
  • Complex Sound
    • Summing Pure Tones That Differ Only in Phase or Amplitude
    • Summing Pure Tones That Differ in Frequency
    • Harmonics and Distortion
    • Air Molecule Vibration Pattern for Complex Sounds
    • Fourier's Theoum
    • Common Types of Tones and Noise
    • The Click (Transient) Signal
    • Waveform Rise and Fall Envelopes
  • Clinical Correlate: Tone Burst Durations for Testing Infants
  • Summary
  • Answers to Chapter Problems

Chapter 5. Impedance, Energy Transfer, and Resonance

  • Impedance
    • Impedance of a Medium
  • Energy Transfer
  • Resonance of Systems
  • Standing Waves and Resonances of Tubes
    • Standing Waves
    • Resonances of a Tube Closed at One End
    • Resonances of a Tube Closed at Both Ends
  • Summary

Chapter 6. Electricity and Analog Systems

  • Electron Flow
  • Ohm’s Law
  • Electrical Circuits
  • Ion Flow
  • Common Analog Components
    • Microphones
    • Amplifiers
    • Filters
    • Speakers
    • Transducers
    • Volume Controls
    • Frequency Response Controls
  • Summary

Chapter 7. Digital Systems and Digital Signal Processing

  • Bits and Sampling Rates
    • How Big Is That?
    • How Often Should Amplitude Be Measured?
    • Building an Analogy to Use Later
  • Additional Digitization Concepts
    • Analog to Digital Converters
    • Nyquist Frequency
  • Digital to Analog Converters
    • Imaging
    • Anti-imaging filters
  • Overview of What a Digital System Can Do
  • Fast Fourier Transform Analysis of Auditory Signals
    • Windowing
    • Goal of FFT analysis
  • Clinical Correlate: Bins in Audiology
  • Time Domain Signal Averaging
    • Hearing Aid Digital Noise Reduction
  • Clinical Correlate: Digital Hearing Aids
  • Summary

Chapter 8. Some Equipment Used in Audiology and Hearing Science

  • Audiometers
  • Signal Generators
  • Sound Booths
  • Immittance Devices (Middle Ear Analyzers)
    • Tympanometers
    • Acoustic Stapedial Reflex Measurement
  • Otoacoustic Emissions Devices
    • Spontaneous Otoacoustic Emission Measurement
    • Transient-Evoked Otoacoustic Emissions Measurement
    • Distortion-Product Otoacoustic Emissions Measurement
    • Signal Processing Used in Analysis of All Types of OAE Measurements
  • Auditory Evoked Response Measurement Systems
    • Common Mode Rejection
    • Time-Domain Signal Averaging and Artifact Rejection
    • Filtering the Evoked Response
  • Hearing Aid Analyzers
  • Real-Ear Measurement Systems
    • Speech Mapping Technology
    • Traditional Real-Ear Testing
  • Power Supplied for Hearing Instruments and Testing Equipment:
    Safety Concerns and Electronic Noise
  • Relative Safety of AC and DC Power Supplies
    • What Is AC Electricity?
    • Ground Noise
    • Grounding Equipment, Fuses, and Circuit Protectors
    • Floor Noise
  • Microphones
    • Types of Microphones
    • Microphone Directionality
    • Microphone Care
  • Sound Level Meters
    • Calibration of Sound Level Meters
    • Types of Decibel Scales
    • Sound Level Meter Response Times
    • Decibel Range Selection
    • Earphone Couplers
    • Calibration of Audiometer Output Level: Reference
    • :Equivalent Threshold Levels
  • Frequency Counters
  • Audiometer Calibrators
  • Oscilloscopes
  • Summary

Section Two: Introduction To Speech Acoustics

Chapter 9. Classification of Speech Sounds

  • Consonants, Vowels, and Diphthongs
  • Consonants Are Categorized by Place of Articulation,
    Manner of Articulation, and Voicing
    • Alveolar Sounds
    • Palatal Sounds
    • Glottal Sound
    • Velar Sounds
    • Linguadental Sounds
    • Bilabial Sounds
    • Labiodental Sounds
  • Clinical Correlate: The Limits of Lip Reading
  • Vowels Differ in Tongue Height, Placement, Tension and
    Lip Rounding
    • Front Vowels
    • Central Vowels
    • Back Vowels
  • Summary

Chapter 10. Acoustics of Speech

  • How Speech Sound Waveforms Can Be Viewed
  • Fundamental Frequency, Harmonics, and
    Formant Frequencies
  • Acoustic Characteristics of Vowels
    • Formant Frequencies Are Created by Resonance of the
    • :Vocal Tract
    • F1 and F2 of Vowels
    • Intensity of Vowel Sounds
    • Low Importance of Vowels for Speech Understanding
  • Acoustic Characteristics of Consonants
    • Stop Consonant Burst Energy Is Wideband
    • Voice Onset Time Distinguishes Voiced and Unvoiced Sounds
    • Formant Frequency Transitions Provide Additional Acoustic Cues
    • Fricatives Have Longer Duration and High-Frequency Energy
    • Affricatives Have Characteristics of Both Plosives and Fricatives
    • Nasals Have Low-Frequency Energy, Nasal Murmur, and
    • :Antiresonances
  • Clinical Correlate: Some Noise-Reduction Strategies Can Make
    Speech Sound Nasal
    • Glides Are Characterized by Vowel Formant Transitions
    • Intensity of Consonants
    • Importance of Consonants for Speech Understanding
  • Clinical Correlate: Shouting Doesn't Help Most Hearing-Impaired
  • Summary

Section Three: Anatomy and Physiology of the Ear

Chapter 11. Overview of Anatomy and Physiology of the Ear

  • Anatomic Terms for Location
  • Anatomic Views
  • General Sections of the Ear
  • Clinical Correlate: Types of Loss
  • The Temporal Bone
  • Overview of Physiology
  • Summary

Chapter 12. Introduction to the Conductive Mechanisms

  • The External Ear
  • The Middle Ear
    • The Tympanic Membrane
    • Overview of the Middle Ear Structures and Landmarks
    • The Ossicles
    • Overview of How Middle Ear Ossicular Motion Permits Hearing
    • Medial Wall Landmarks
    • Posterior Wall Landmarks
    • The Lateral or Tympanic Wall
    • Anterior Wall
    • Middle Ear Muscles
    • The Eustachian Tube
  • Summary

Chapter 13. Introduction to the Physiology of the Middle Ear

  • Resonances of the External Ear
  • Energy Transfer Through the Middle Ear
    • Impedance Mismatch Between Air and Cochlear Fluids
    • The Middle Ear as an Impedance-Matching Transformer
  • The Acoustic Reflex
  • Summary
  • References

Chapter 14. Bone-Conduction Hearing

  • Bone-Conduction Mechanisms
    • Skull Vibration
    • Intertial Aspects of Bone Conduction
    • Compressional Aspects of Bone Conduction
    • Osseotympanic Aspects of Bone Conduction: Bone Conduction
    • :by Air Conduction
    • Hearing Is Tested by Air and Bone Conduction
  • Clinical Correlate: Diagnosing Conductive
    • Bone Conduction by Air Conduction and the Occlusion Effect
  • Summary
  • Clinical Correlate: Third-Window Disorders
  • References

Chapter 15.Advanced Conductive Anatomy and Physiology

  • Pinna
    • Embryologic Development
    • Landmarks
    • Physiology of the Pinna
  • Clinical Correlate: Defects of the Outer Ear May Signal Middle
    and Inner Ear Defects
  • External Auditory Meatus
    • Detailed Anatomy
  • Clinical Correlate: Otoscopy and Earmold Impressions
    • Proximity to the Temporomandibular Joint
    • Proximity of Nerves to the External Auditory Meatus
  • Clinical Correlates: TMJ Pain and the Effect of TMJ Movement
    on Earmold Impressions
    • Skin of the External Auditory Meatus
    • Cerumen
  • Clinical Correlate: Cerumen Management
    • Detailed Physiology of the External Auditory Meatus
  • Clinical Correlate: Real-Ear Measurement
  • Tympanic Membrane
    • Slant and Cone Depth
  • Clinical Correlate: Cone of Light
  • Detailed Study of the Ossicular Chain
  • Resonance of the Middle Ear
    • Mass and Stiffness of the Middle Ear Affect Sound Transmission
    • :Differently at Different Frequencies
  • Clinical Correlate: Carhart’s Notch
    • Transmission of Sound Through the Tympanic Membrane
    • :Is Affected by Mass and Stiffness
  • Clinical Correlate: Carhart Notch
  • Clinical Correlate: Measuring Middle Ear Resonance
  • Clinical Correlate: Measuring Middle Ear Pressure
  • Acoustic Reflex Physiology
    • Reflex Latency
  • Clinical Correlate: Measuring Acoustic Reflex Latency
    • Reflex Adaptation
    • Reflex Threshold
  • Clinical Correlate: Measuring Acoustic Reflex Decay
  • Clinical Correlate: Reflex Threshold Testing May Reveal Type
    of Hearing Loss
  • Summary
  • Reference

Chapter 16. Introduction to the Sensory Mechanics

  • The Bony Labyrinth
  • The Membranous Labyrinth
    • The Vestibular System
    • The Cochlea
  • Structures Within the Cochlea
    • Gross Structures
    • Fine Details of Features in the Cochlea
    • Mass and Stiffness Differences Along Basilar Membrane
    • Review of How the Detailed Features Fit Within the
    • :Larger Picture
  • Cochlear Blood Supply
  • Innervation of the Cochlea
  • Summary

Chapter 17. Advanced Study of the Anatomy of the Cochlea

  • Hair Cell Height and Number
  • Stereocilia and Their Tip Links and Side Links
  • Supporting Cells
  • Chemical Composition of Endolymph and Perilymph
  • Comparative Electrical Charges of Fluids in the Cochlea
  • Potassium Influx Regulates Calcium Coming into Hair Cells
  • Circulation of Ions
  • Clinical Correlate: Gap Junctions and Deafness
  • Neurotransmitter Release
  • Summary

Chapter 18. Introduction to Cochlear Physiology

  • Arrangement of the Cilia Relative to Tectorial Membrane
  • Mass/Stiffness Gradient of the Basilar Membrane
  • Review of Divisions and Membranes Within the Cochlea
  • The In-and-Out Motion of Stapes Footplate Becomes an
    Up-and-Down Motion of Basilar Membrane, Called
    the Traveling Wave
  • The Location of the Maximum Place of Movement on the Basilar
    Membrane Is Determined by the Sound Frequency
  • An Unfortunate Untwisting Fate
  • The Height of the Traveling Wave Envelope Is Related to
    Sound Intensity
  • Ciliary Shearing
    • Returning to the Concept that the Up-and-Down Basilar
    • :Membrane Motion Creates Side-to-Side Shearing of the
    • :Hair Cell Cilia
    • Shearing of Cilia Opens Microchannels (Mechanoelectrical
    • :Transduction Channels) in the Cilia and Creates Chemical
    • :Changes in the Hair Cell Body
  • The Outer Hair Cell Active Mechanism Enhances the Motion
    of the Inner Hair Cell Cilia
  • Hearing Requires Inner Hair Cell Stimulation
  • Summary

Chapter 19. More Hair Cell Physiology

  • Calcium and Potassium Channels, Prestin, and Actice Cilia
    • Review of Cellular Chemistry Changes
    • Prestin Protein Contraction Creates the Active Mechanism
    • Hair Cell Cilia Also Appear to Have Actice Properties
    • Tip Links and Insertion Plaques: Slow Cilia Adaptation
  • Clinical Correlate: Temporary Threshold Shift
  • Apoptosis- A Better Way for Hair Cells to Die
    • Reactive Oxygen Species
    • Antioxidants
  • Summary

Chapter 20. Overview of Cochlear Potentials and the Auditory
Nervous System

  • Chemical Changes in the Hair Cells and Neurons
    • The Cochlear Microphonic
    • The Summating Potential
    • Action Potentials
  • Clinical Correlate: VIIIth Nerve Tumors Cause High-Frequency
    Hearing Loss
  • Pattern of Neural Firing Encodes Frequency and Intensity
  • The Primary Afferent Auditory Pathway
    • Location of Afferent Neuron Dendrites
    • Course of the VIIIth Nerve
    • Cerebellopontine Angle
    • Nuclei
    • Primary Auditory Cortex
  • Introduction to Efferent Neurons
  • Clinical Correlate: Auditory Brainstem Response Testing
    Measures Synchronous Neural Discharge
  • Clinical Correlate: Right-Ear Advantage
  • Summary
  • Reference

Chapter 21. Advanced Study of Cochlear and VIIIth Nerve Potentials

  • Characteristic Frequency
  • Cochlear Resting Potentials
    • Endocochlear Potential
    • Intracellular Potentials
  • Cochlear Receptor Potentials
    • Cochlear Microphonic
    • Summating Potential
    • Comparison of the Tuning of the Cochlear Microphonic and the
    • :Summating Potential
  • Clinical Correlate: Ménière’s Disease and Enhanced Summating
    • Summary of Cochlear Microphonic and Summating Potential
  • Action Potentials
    • Electrical Potentials in Neurons
    • Refractory Period
    • Spontaneous Discharge Rates
    • Threshold of Neural Firing Is Related to Spontaneous
    • :Discharge Rate
    • Firing Rates Influenced by Efferent Innervation
    • Pure-Tone Frequencies and Intensities That Cause a Neuron to
    • :Fire Faster Than Spontaneous Rate
    • Upward Spread of Masking— Masking of One Stimulus
    • :by a Second
  • Neural Tuning Curves
    • How Neural Tuning Curves are Obtained
    • Q10 dB Calculations Describe Width of Tuning Curve Tips
  • Summary
  • Reference

Chapter 22. How Frequency and Intensity Information Are Encoded by VIIIth Nerve Fibers

  • Rate of Firing of One Neuron Increases as the Stimulus Frequency
    Approaches Characteristic Frequency
  • Different Combinations of Frequency and Intensity Can Create
    the Same Overall Number of Neural Discharges Per Second
  • Problems with the Theory That Frequency Is Encoded by Rate
    of Discharge
  • Pattern of Neural Discharge Encodes Frequency and Intensity
  • Whole Nerve Potentials Versus Single Nerve Potentials to Single
    Pure Tones
  • Limits on a Neuron’s Firing “In Phase” with Signals
    • Angry Bird Analogy
    • A Neuron Will Phase-Lock to Which Pure Tone Frequencies?
    • A Single Pure Tone Phase-Locks Which Neurons?
  • Clinical Correlate: What the Auditory Brainstem Response
    Measures and How the Auditory Steady-State Response Differs
  • Masking of One Sound by a Second Sound
  • Poststimulus Time Histograms Obtained When Stimulating the
    Ear with Clicks and the Concept of Preferred Intervals
    • Response of Multiple Neurons of the Same Characteristic
    • :Frequency
  • Period Histograms: Histograms Obtained with Pure-Tone
  • Review of the Response of the VIIIth Nerve to Pure Tones
  • Response of the VIIIth Nerve to Complex Signals
    • Additional Information Is Obtained from Early and Late
    • :Neural Firings
  • Summary

Chapter 23. The Efferent Auditory System

  • Olivocochlear Bundle
    • Medial Efferent System
    • Lateral Efferent System
    • Crossed and Uncrossed Efferent Fibers
    • Effect of Activation of the Efferent System
    • Memory Aids
  • Other Efferent Pathways
  • The Acoustic Reflex
    • Stapedial Reflex Pathway
    • Effect of Stapedial Reflex Contraction
    • Role of Tensor Tympani
    • Acoustic Reflexes Elicited by Nonauditory Stimuli
  • Summary

Chapter 24. Peripheral Vestibular Anatomy and Physiology

  • The Vestibular System Bony and Membranous Labyrinths
    • Arrangement of the Semicircular Canals
    • Planes of the Canals of the Right and Left Ears are Aligned
  • Clinical Correlate: Orienting the Horizontal Semicircular Canal
  • Anatomy and Physiology of the Semicircular Canals
    • Structures Within the Ampullae of the Semicircular Canals
    • Angular Head Motion Directions
    • Cilia and Kinocilium in the Ampullae
    • Direction of Endolymph/Cupula Movement That Is Excitatory
  • The Utricle and Saccule
    • Hair Cells of the Utricle and Saccule
  • Vestibular Branch of the VIIIth Nerve
  • Clinical Correlate: Vestibular Assessment of Each Branch of the
    Vestibular Portion of the VIIIth Nerve
  • Clinical Correlate: Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
  • Summary
  • Further Reading

Chapter 25. Central Vestibular Anatomy and Physiology

  • Functions of the Balance System
    • Awareness of Head Position
    • The Vestibular-Ocular Reflex
  • Clinical Correlate: Unilateral Peripheral Lesions Cause Nystagmus
    That Beats Toward the Unaffected Ear
  • Reflexes of the Balance System for Postural Control
  • Clinical Correlate: Overview of Balance Assessment- Posturography
    • Summary of the Functions of Balance and Clinical Implications
  • Clinical Correlate: Overview of the Video- and Electrostagmography
  • Summary

Section 4: Basic Psychoacoustics

Chapter 26. Introduction to Psychoacoustics

  • The Threshold (in DB SPL) for Pure Tones Depends on Frequency
  • Two Ears Are Better Than One
  • Under Ideal Circumstances, A Person Can Detect a 1-dB
    Intensity Change
  • In General, a 10-dB Increase in Intensity Is About a Doubling of
    Loudness (Some STudies Say 6 dB)
  • Loudness Grows a Bit Differently in the Low Frequencies:
    An Introduction to Phon Curves
  • Pitch
    • When Is a Pure Tone Tonal?
    • Detecting Change in Pitch
    • Doubling Frequency Creates a Musical Sameness but Not a
    • :Doubling of Pitch
  • Masking
    • Upward Spread of Masking
    • Critical Bands
  • Temporal Processing
    • Sounds Are Louder and of Better Pitch if at Least
    • :One-Quarter Millisecond Duration
    • Temporal Order Detection
    • Gap Detection
  • Summary and Implications for Speech Perception

Chapter 27. Classical Psychoacoustic Methodologies

  • Classic Psychoacoustic Methods
    • Method of Limits
    • Method of Adjustment
  • Clinical Correlate: How Instruction Affects Patients’ Responses
  • Clinical Correlate: Nonorganic Loss Detection Using Lack of
    False Positive Responses and Latency Inconsistencies
  • Clinical Correlate: Ascending Testing in Nonorganic Loss
    • Method of Constant Stimuli
  • Newer Methods
    • Adaptive Up-Down Methods
    • Introduction to Forced-Choice Methods
  • Introduction to Signal Detection Theory
  • Scaling Procedures
    • Magnitude Estimation
  • Clinical Correlate: Scaling Procedures Are Used Clinically
    • Magnitude Production
    • Fractionation
    • Cross-Modality Matching
  • Summary
  • Reference

Chapter 28. Signal Detection Theory and Advanced Adaptive Approaches

  • Signal Detection Theory
    • Understanding “Magnitude of the Sensory Event”
    • Signal Plus Noise Perception
    • Criterion Points for Decision-Making and How Hit and
    • :Correct-Rejection Percentages Reveal Spacing Between the
    • :Noise and Signal-plus-Noise Distributions
    • Altering Subject Criteria in Signal Detection Theory and
    • :Receiver Operating Curves
    • The Magic of d’
  • Clinical Correlate: Clinical Tests Have d’ Values
  • Adaptive Methods to Determine the Signal Level That Is Correctly
    Detected a Given Percentage of Time
    • Block Up-Down and Transformed Up-Down Procedures
    • Interleaving Runs
    • Parameter Estimation by Sequential Testing
  • The Gridgeman Paradox
  • Preference Testing in Hearing Aid Customization
    • Paired-Comparisons
  • Summary

Chapter 29. Threshold of Hearing, Loudness Perception, and
Loudness Adaptation

  • Absolute Threshold of Hearing
    • Mimimal Audible Pressure and Minimum Aubile Field
    • Binaural and Equated Binaural Thresholds
    • Effect of Stimulus Duration on Absolute Threshold
    • Effect of Stimulus Repetition Rate
  • Difference Threshold for Intensity: DLI
    • Spectral Profile Analysis
  • Loudness Perception
  • Clinical Correlate: Short-Increment Sensitivity Index
    • Loudness Level
    • Decibel Scales Revisited
    • Loudness Scaling
  • Loudness Adaptation
  • Temporary Threshold Shift
  • Clinical Correlate: Tone Decay and Reflex Decay Testing
  • Summary
  • References

Chapter 30. Calculating Loudness

  • Physiological Correlates of Loudness and Loudness Growth
    • The Transfer Function of the Ear
    • Role of the Active Mechanism
    • Spread of Activity Along the Basilar Membrane
  • Calculating Loudness of Pure Tones
  • Complex Tone Loudness
  • Summary
  • Reference

Chapter 31. Basics of Pitch Perception

  • Pitch Perception
    • The Limits of Tonal Perception
    • Pitch Perception Is Intensity Dependent
    • Pitch Perception Is Duration Dependent
  • Pitch Scaling
    • The Mel Scale of Pitch
    • Octave Scales
    • Bark Scale
  • Clinical Correlate: Testing the Pitch Perception of Pigeons and
    the Hearing of Fish and Giving a Dog a Hearing Test:
    Pediatric Audiology Correlate
  • Just Noticeable Difference of Frequency
    • Changes in DLF with Frequency
    • Changes in DLF with Intensity
  • Perception of Two Tones and of Distortions
    • Beats and Simple Difference Tones
    • Summation Tones, Other Difference Tones, and Aural Harmonics
  • Summary
  • References

Chapter 32. Introduction to Masking

  • Tone-on-Tone Masking
  • Critical Bands
  • Clinical Correlate: The Audiometer’s Masking Noise
  • Summary
  • References

Chapter 33. More about Masking and Cochlear Frequency Distribution

  • Masking Pure Tones with White Noise and Narrowband Noise:
    Critical Bands and Critical Ratios
    • Level per Cycle Calculations
    • Critical Bands in Hz and dB
    • A Critical Band Is also Called a Bark
    • How Critical Bands Vary with Frequency
    • Fletcher’s Theory of Critical Ratio
  • Equivalent Rectangular Bandwidths
  • Other Ways to Evaluate Critical Bands
  • The Relationship Between DLF, Critical Bands, Critical Ratios, and
    Equivalent Rectangular Bandwidths
  • Comodulation Release From Masking
  • Clinical Correlate: Acoustic Reflexes to Pure Tones and
    Broadband Noise
  • Remote Masking
  • Summary and Some Further Analysis
  • References

Chapter 34. Psychophysical Tuning Curves

  • Psychophysical Tuning Curves
    • How PTCs Are Obtained and Interpreted
    • Correlation to Traveling Wave Locations
    • Families of PTCs
    • Tips, Tails, and Q-10’s
  • Neural Tuning Curves Revisited
  • The Link Between PTCs and Neural Tuning Curves
  • Summary and a Confession

Chapter 35. Temporal Processing

  • Review of Temporal Integration for Threshold-Level Stimuli
  • Review of Duration Effects on Pitch Perception
  • Gap Detection
    • Gap Detection Ability Is a Function of Frequency
    • Gap Detection Ability Is Related to the Auditory Filter Bandwidth
    • Detection of Gaps in White Noise Uses the High-Frequency
    • :Cochlear Filters
  • Clinical Correlate: Auditory Processing Testing of Gap Detection
  • Clinical Correlate: Cochlear Hearing Impairment Harms Gap
    Detection Ability
  • Temporal Successiveness
  • Clinical Correlate: Auditory Processing Testing of Temporal
  • Temporal Discrimination
    • Temporal Discrimination Relates to Distinguishing Voice From
    • :Unvoiced Consonants
    • Temporal Modulation Transfer Functions
  • Summary
  • References

Chapter 36. Temporal Masking

  • Forward Masking– Masker Precedes Probe Signal
    • Magnitude of the Effect
    • Physiologic Explanations
    • Forward Masking Psychophysical Tuning Curves Are Sharper
  • Backward Masking– Masker Follows the Probe Signal
    • Magnitude of the Effect
    • Physiologic Explanation
  • Summary

Chapter 37. Binaural Hearing

  • Binaural Summation
  • Improved DLI and DLF Ability Binaurally
  • Clinical Correlate: Monaural versus Binaural Amplification
  • Binaural Beats
  • Central Masking
  • Binaural Fusion
  • Localization
    • Temporal Cues to Localization
    • Intensity Differences
    • Combined Effect of Intensity and Phase Differences
    • Central Nervous System Cells Are Responsive to Phase or
    • :Intensity Differences
  • Lateralization
    • Interaural Time Difference
    • Interaural Intensity Differences
  • Clinical Correlate: Stenger Test for Nonorganic Unilateral
    Hearing Loss
  • Combined Effects of Intensity and Phase
    • Why is Lateralization a Different Phenomenon from Localization?
  • Masking Level Differences
  • Clinical Correlate: Binaural Advantage to Hearing Aids
  • Summary
  • References

Chapter 38. Introduction to Results of Psychoacoustical Assessment of the Hearing-Impaired

  • The Effect of Hearing Loss on Audibility of Tones and Speech
    • Effect of Loss Type and Severity
    • Loss of Sensitivity for Pure Tones Predicts Loss of Speech
    • :Perception Ability
    • Articulation Index Predictions of Speech Understanding
    • :Are Imperfect
  • Cochlear Loss Causes Recruitment
  • Difference Limens for Intensity
  • Threshold Temporal Summation Effects
  • Widened Psychophysical Tuning Curves
  • Cochlear Dead Regions
    • Off-Frequency Listening
    • Audiometric Characteristics of Dead Regions
    • What Is Perceived When Off-Frequency Listening Occurs?
    • Psychophysical Tuning Curves for Dead Regions
    • The Threshold Equalizing Noise Test
    • Enhanced DLFs Near Dead Regions?
    • Amplification for Those with Dead Regions
  • Clinical Correlate: Frequency Compression Hearing Aids and
    • Short-Electrode Cochlear Implants
  • Gap Detection Thresholds
    • Results with White Noise Stimuli
    • Gap Detection Results for Pure Tones Depend on Stimulus
    • :Intensity Levels
    • Gap Detection Should Theoretically Be Better in
    • :Hearing-Impaired Persons
  • Temporal Modulation Detection Ability Is Good if Signal Is
    Fully Audible
  • Ability to Detect Very Fast Signal Is Poor
  • Poorer Pitch Perception Abilities
  • Failure to Take Advantage in Pauses in Interrupted Noise
  • Summary
  • References

Appendix A. The Math Needed to Succeed in Hearing Science


About The Authors

Teri A. Hamill

Teri A. Hamill, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Audiology at Nova Southeastern University, recently took early retirement. She had taught AuD students for 21 years at Nova Southeastern University, and taught at two other universities and was a hospital-based audiologist.

Dr. Hamill's knowledge of instrumentation was furthered by having worked with engineers: Her post-doctorate in 1987 to 1988 was with Project Phoenix/Nicolet, which produced a commercially unsuccessful fully digital hearing aid. Her knowledge of digital signal processing also comes from being married to a computer scientist.

Dr. Hamill retired in order to sail at least half the year on her antique Shannon 38 cutter-rigged sailboat, and to have more time to read about hair-cell physiology.

Lloyd L. Price

Lloyd L. Price, PhD, is professor emeritus of audiology from Florida State University. He taught for more than 30 years and was Dr. Hamill's professor during her doctoral studies at Florida State University. In addition, his clinical background spanned more than nine years. Dr. Price drafted early versions of this text for use in his undergraduate classes, and sought to present hearing science information in an interesting and straight-forward manner. Now retired, Dr. Price and his wife live in Havana, Florida and travel, primarily to Europe.

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