The contribution of the near and far ear toward localization of sound in the sagittal plane

J Acoust Soc Am. 1988 Jun;83(6):2300-10. doi: 10.1121/1.396361.


Eight listeners were required to locate a train of 4.5-kHz high-pass noise bursts emanating from loudspeakers positioned +/- 30, +/- 20, +/- 10, and 0 deg re: interaural axis. The vertical array of loudspeakers was placed at 45, 90, and 135 deg left of midline. The various experimental conditions incorporated binaural and monaural listening with the latter utilizing the ear nearest or ear farthest from the sound source. While performance excelled when listening with only the near ear, the contribution of the far ear was statistically significant when compared to localization performance when both ears were occluded. Based on head related transfer functions for stimuli whose bandwidth was 1.0 kHz, four spectral cues were selected as candidates for influencing location judgments. Two of them associated relative changes in energy across center frequencies (CFs) with vertical source positions. The other two associated an absolute minimum (maximum) energy for specific CFs with a vertical source position. All but one cue when measured for the near ear could account for localization proficiency. On the other hand, when listening with the far ear, maximum energy at a specific CF outperformed the remaining cues in accounting for localization proficiency.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Hearing / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Sound Localization / physiology*