Binaural Hearing Laboratory

Department of Biomedical Engineering
44 Cummington Street, Boston, MA 02215
Principal Investigator: H. Steven Colburn

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The Binaural Hearing Laboratory is focused on studies of binaural interaction, including phenomena such as sound localization for which monaural processing also plays a major role. The goal of these studies is an integrated understanding of binaural interaction and its role in human sound perception, including the interpretation of acoustic cues in complex sound environments (e.g., multiple sources in reverberant spaces). Specific projects range from signal processing models of physiological activity to empirical measurements of the hearing abilities of listeners with hearing losses and/or neurological lesions. In the neural modeling area, we are evaluating the abilities of simple neural models to generate firing patterns equivalent to those seen in binaural cells in brainstem nuclei such as the MSO, LSO, and IC. In psychophysical studies of normal listeners, current interests include interaural discrimination and binaural detection, especially detection with reproducible noise maskers. In studies of listeners with hearing impairments, we are trying to relate listeners' abilities on a variety of binaural tests to a primary set of psychophysical measures. In studies of sound localization and recognition, we are studying and simulating the cues that lead to externalization, localization, and separation of sources.