June 6, 1966

How We Hear

Author Affiliations

From the Kresge Hearing Research Institute and the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

JAMA. 1966;196(10):831-833. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100230075018

It must be stated at the outset of this discussion that there are still missing in the physiological processes of hearing enough details to make it impossible to describe, with finality, how we hear. About the best that can be accomplished is a description of the different processes known to be involved, and a rough approximation of how these processes contribute to the overall sensitivity and frequency discrimination ability of the ear.

It is essential, first of all, to have a fairly clear understanding of the capabilities of the ear, ie, what can one hear? The ear responds to a remarkably wide range of frequencies extending from 16 to well over 16,000 cycles per second. As a matter of fact, a young child can hear a frequency as high as 24,000 cps, but presbycusis starts to set in soon and by the time this individual is 70 years old he

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