The perception of sound

Let use an example: If Lisa says to George, “What is the time?” George will detect that someone is talking to him. He will discriminate speech sounds from other sounds, for example an aeroplane flying past or a car hooting. He will identify that someone is asking him a question about time and he will understand the question and react by answering: “It is three o’ clock”.

The ability to perceive what was heard (auditory perception) plays an important role in human communication.

There are many children whose hearing is within normal limits, but give the impression that they cannot hear. These children have an auditory perceptual problem. They have difficulty detection, discriminating, identifying or understanding sounds. An inability to listen effectively can hamper communication, the development of language abilities as well as most areas of their school work.

Children with auditory perceptual (listening skills) difficulties should be helped by a speech therapist. Parents can also help their children improve their listening and language skills by means of a home programme such as the Listening and Language Home Programme.

Location of sound

A person’s brain can work out where a sound is coming from. One’s brain receives messages from both ears. The ear closest to the sound hears first. This helps your brain work out where the sound is coming from. A person who cannot hear in one ear can therefore not locate the source of the sound.

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