National Centre for Audiology

Two Ears: Hear in Three Dimensions

BY REBECCA HENDERSONTwo Ears: Hear in Three Dimensions
(Left to Right) Sue Sanku, Megan DeWeerd & Sydney Robinson, grade 12 students at AB Lucas Secondary School, and Rosaline Scully, grade 10 student at Joseph's Catholic High School in St. Thomas at the anechoic chamber, National Centre for Audiology, Western University

(May 1, 2015) High school students participate in a hands-on workshop to learn about sound localization at the National Centre for Audiology, one of many events at the annual TD Discovery Day’s in Health Sciences organized by the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame and Western University.

Students learn how the auditory system uses sound received at the left and right ears to determine the direction of sound at the NCA’s anechoic chamber. The chamber is literally “without echo” and one of the largest in Canada. “I’ve never had that experience before,” says Sydney Robinson, a grade 12 student at AB Lucas Secondary School in London. “It was disorienting to be in a situation without echo.”

“We’re sensitive to  small time and level differences between the ears to help us localize sounds,” says facilitator Ewan Macpherson, PhD, National Centre for Audiology and Assistant Professor with the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders. “Spatial hearing helps with awareness of our surroundings and with listening to speech in a noisy environment.” Macpherson believes the demonstration exposes students to hearing sciences in an engaging way, and provides students with awareness of careers in audiology or hearing research.