Landmark results explain how we process sound, could improve devices from iPods to cochlear implants
Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have discovered that our ears use the most efficient way to process the sounds we hear, from babbling brooks to wailing babies. These results represent a significant advance in our understanding of how sound is encoded for transmission to the brain, according to the authors, whose work is published with an accompanying "News and Views" editorial in the Feb. 23 issue of Nature.
The research provides a new mathematical framework for understanding sound processing and suggests that our hearing is highly optimized in terms of signal coding--the process by which sounds are translated into information by our brains--for the range of sounds we experience. The same work also has far-reaching, long-term technological implications, such as providing a predictive model to vastly improve signal processing for better quality compressed digital audio files and designing brain-like codes for cochlear implants, which restore hearing to the deaf.
Jonathan Potts | EurekAlert!
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