Hearing loss from weapons and explosive devices has been the No. 1 disability in this country’s modern military conflicts, saddling thousands of veterans with anything from tinnitus to deafness. Now a new generation of laser-based implants promises to restore their hearing — and that of civilians, too — with higher resolution than existing technology.
At a cocktail party, during a baseball game or in any other crowded, noisy place, your brain has to do some high-level filtering so you can separate important sounds from the clanking background. Turning your head helps with this, and researchers are studying how these head movements cause a shift in auditory perception. A team in Japan did the natural thing and used a humanoid robot to figure it out. Watch below as it affably mimics a headphone-wearing human.
As you listened to your colleagues' conversations at work today, or to a podcast on the train home, or to your personal trainer shouting lift, your brain completed some complex tasks. The frequencies of syllables and whole words were decoded and given meaning, and you could make sense of the language-filled world we live in without actively thinking about it. Now a team of researchers from the University of California at Berkeley has figured out how to map some of these cortical computations. It's a major step toward understanding how we hear — and a possible step toward hearing what we think.
Troubadours, romantics and Bono have all claimed at one point or another that music has the power to heal. They might finally get some backing from the scientific community if a group of researchers in Germany has any say.