A Conversation for The Human Ear

Peer Review: A952599 - The Human Ear

Post 1


Entry: The Human Ear - A952599
Author: Lifeseeker - U214411

A look at the Human Ear and its marvellous capabilities. From whispers to jet engines it copes with huge ranges of loudness and frequencies. The intention here was to cause the reader to appreciate and wonder at this astounding device.

A952599 - The Human Ear

Post 2


There's no doubt this is a well researched entry, my only concern is your headers. They sound more like something you should say in the content, it's perfectly okay to say an inoffensive opinion in content, like "The human ear is truly a remarkable organ" but it doesn't fit well in heading. And a grammatical mistake -

of God. It easy to

should read

of God. It is easy to

smiley - blacksheep

A952599 - The Human Ear

Post 3

John Luke

I also think it is a good article but it is not about the human ear - it is about human hearing.

The ear is the bit that sticks out from the side of your head and it is not mentioned at all. It is the various parts of the "inner ear" in conjunction with the brain which gives us our ability to hear. Perhaps your article should be named 'Human Hearing' or something along those lines.

John Luke.

A952599 - The Human Ear

Post 4

Gnomon - time to move on

This entry is titled "THe Human Ear" but it is only about one small part of the ear - the range of its abilities. It doesn't say anything about the construction outer/middle/inner or explain how any of it works. So if you're not going to provide any of this, you'll have to change the title.

On the other hand, if you want to provide a detailed explanation of how the ear works, it would be most welcome.

You are completely wrong about sound. Sound does not have to be heard in order to be sound. One of the dictionary definitions of sound is "mechanical radiant energy that is transmitted by longitudinal pressure waves in a material medium (as air) and is the objective cause of hearing" (Encyclopaedia Britannica CD ROM 98). It is possible for the sound from one object to cause another object to move, a movement which can be observed with your eyes or felt with your fingers. No ears are necessary.

I don't believe your statement about the movement of the eardrum for a very quiet sound. Can you provied references, please?

A952599 - The Human Ear

Post 5


smiley - taGood feedback so far - I'll make some additions/changes.

I can understand you not believing the figures quoted. I didn't either and it was reading these figures that inspired me to write the article! The reference though is a good one: "Fundamentals of Acoustics" by Kinsler and Frey: a recognised University textbook.
Of course I'll put this into the entry.

A952599 - The Human Ear

Post 6

Bels - an incurable optimist. A1050986

> When watching an orchestra, we can decide to listen especially to the oboe, or a flute, and are able to do so.

Not necessarily. It very much depends on what is going on at the time. If you've got a whole orchestra playing loudly you are not going to be able to pick out a solitary flute, even in Carnegie Hall. And if you had, say, a flute duet with two flutes playing in sync, whether in harmony or in unison, it would be a very fine ear indeed that could hear both flutes individually and equally.

Did you mean 'watching' an orchestra, or listening? Or are you hinting at how much more you can 'hear' when you also have visual contact?

A952599 - The Human Ear

Post 7


Regarding your first point: maybe you're being a bit picky there. Of course the "Cocktail Party Effect" has limitations. The fact is that it exists, that's all.

The question of watching versus listening is an interesting one. I have no research that says it is easier to "tune in" to an instrument if you can see it being played. However, I suppose that seeing the fingers move may give the brain additional information and clues to help it. Likewise, seeing someone's lips move in a party is bound to give help in listening to a conversation.

Thanks: I'll include something like that in the article.

A952599 - The Human Ear

Post 8

Bels - an incurable optimist. A1050986

Well I think that a cocktail party, or just a visit to a busy pub, or trying to have a conversation in any sort of noisy environment, is a good example of this point. The orchestral one isn't the best example, for various reasons. For example, you haven't mentioned what you would hear if you hadn't decided to listen out for anything in particular, and what would be the deciding factors in what you would hear in that case. Then there's the question of some people having better musical hearing skills than others. And so on. It just isn't a good example, and you don't need to mention it at all.

A952599 - The Human Ear

Post 9


I have now revised this article and added more to it on the subject of the anatomy. I have also provided the reference I used for the capabilities of the ear.

A952599 - The Human Ear

Post 10

McKay The Disorganised

Good article smiley - ok

smiley - space You mention that it is sudden sounds that tend to damage hearing, but what about the dammage that occurs through regular exposure to high levels of sound ? (Phil Collins et al) Also perhaps a note about our directional hearing being limited due to our inability to move our ears independantly ?

Interesting stuff though. smiley - cheers

A952599 - The Human Ear

Post 11

Monsignore Pizzafunghi Bosselese

Interesting stuff indeed!

Before adding the bits about anatomy, you better had looked out for already existing material smiley - winkeye -- this subject is already covered in this Edited Entry: Hearing the World Around Us, A577019 . The Editors avoid duplicating stuff in the Edited Guide, therefore you should concentrate on other points.

For instance, I'd be interested in more details about the direction finding capabilities. AFAIK it's the time difference that is evaluated when locating a source in the horizontal plane, and it's some spectral distortion produced by the shape of the outer ear that enables us to determine the vertical angle. If this was true then people lacking an outer ear could say 'left' or right' but wouldn't be able to tell whether the source is 'up' or 'down'.

Or, what with 'absolute hearing' (dunno if that's the right expression in English) - the rare capability of telling an A minor from an A (straight) without comparing the sound to, say, a tuning fork.

more stuff to link to:
Bats' ears: A748749 (not yet edited, but the A-number won't change)

smiley - cheers

A952599 - The Human Ear

Post 12

McKay The Disorganised

Think perfect pitch is the term you're looking for. smiley - ok

A952599 - The Human Ear

Post 13

Monsignore Pizzafunghi Bosselese

Aaah yes, that's it!

smiley - ta

A952599 - The Human Ear

Post 14

Bels - an incurable optimist. A1050986

The technical term in music is 'absolute pitch', but that is not 100% accurate to a physicist of course. Absolute pitch, however, is not really to do with hearing. Two people might hear the same note just as well as each other, but only the person with absolute (or 'perfect') pitch will know whether it's an A or a B flat. Apparently it's a peculiar form of memory. It could be related to 'muscle memory' - you know, when for example a pianist plays a piece of music without constantly wondering what the next note is, as though the fingers have a memory of their own. In unaccompanied singing... but I won't go on, it's off-topic.

A952599 - The Human Ear

Post 15

McKay The Disorganised

and you'd never do that....smiley - winkeye

A952599 - The Human Ear

Post 16


Fascinating entry! smiley - ok

There is a sentence at the end of the first paragraph that seeme to end in mid-air: 'It is a response to a sound pressure change of one billionth of an Atmospheric Pressure'. Is an Atmospheric Pressure a unit of measurement, or should there be something else there?

Also, a couple of Edited Guide style points: in the EG, single quote marks are used rather than double ones, and numbers up to and including ten are written out as words. The Sub-editors can easily fix that kind of thing, but you could do it yourself and save them a job.

Good work, though. I'm quite sure that this entry is heading for the Edited Guide! smiley - smiley

A952599 - The Human Ear

Post 17


Hi! smiley - smiley

It's a fascinating entry! smiley - biggrin

I've just got a few suggestions:

- You can more easily insert footnotes in entries written in GuideML using The footnote at the point where the ยน or other number should appear.

- "It is a response to a sound pressure change of one billionth of an Atmospheric Pressure" might be better as "It is a response to a sound pressure change of one billionth of atmospheric pressure (10^-9 atm)"

- "decibels are a logarithmic measure" could be changed to "the decibel scale is logarithmic"

RhoMuNuQ smiley - smiley

A952599 - The Human Ear

Post 18


This is great quality feedback! Give me a week though because I'm on hols now. I'll be using my 'directional finding capabilities' to head southwards to some sunshine.

A952599 - The Human Ear

Post 19


smiley - ok

I hope you enjoy your holiday! smiley - smiley


A952599 - The Human Ear

Post 20


You say in the part about the Inner Ear that scientists are just begining to find out how the fluid waves are transmitted into the perception of sound and that this is beyond the scope of your article.

Respectfully, I disagree, if your article is about the ear, emphasizing the literal ear, rather than the ear in culture and so forth, then the discussion of the inner ear anatomy is essential.

Fluid waves are picked up by combinations of "hair cells" wich are resting in the fluid. The hair cells are in different lengths and in different positions so they percieve sound differently. The "hair cells" trigger nerves tat rest in a particular configuration to detect sound. Much the way our visual perception is organized. The difference being the sound is percieved through combinations. Moreover, to attribute meaning to a certain sound, one must have an assocaition pathway to recognize it. OK, now be begin to enter the human brain much more than the ear. Up to the "hair cells" everything is in the ear (albeit the inner ear).

It is possible that if your reference is more than 5-6 years old then this info might not be included.

Finally, the "lobe" of the ear is properly called, the pinna.

Otherwise, I like the article. With some work (and a little cross checking to be sure that we do not repeat material in another h2g2 article) this could be fine stuff.


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