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The psychological measure of the magnitude of a SOUND or SOUND OBJECT including its SPECTRUM (frequency and intensity), harmonic content, duration and spatial properties.
Literally, to hear with two ears. Opposite of MONAURAL HEARING. The fact that the ears are some distance apart allows the localization of sound by registering the slight differences in time, PHASE and INTENSITY of the sound striking each ear. Each of these parameters has a different area of effect, intensity being a major factor above 1500 Hz (see SOUND SHADOW), while PHASE DIFFERENCEs (which are equivalent to time differences) are used in localizing lower frequency sounds.
When sounds are conducted separately and independently to each ear via tubes or headphones, the sounds are said to be heard dichotically. In various psychoacoustic experiments, isolation of the function of each ear is desirable, such as in the testing or simulation of BINAURAL HEARING with the PRECEDENCE EFFECT, or in testing preferences for different sounds presented simultaneously to separate ears.
Although often employed interchangeably with ACOUSTICS, the term might better be restricted to the technology dealing with the practical applications of SOUND, as distinct from the pure science of acoustics. (It will be noted, however, that the contemporary acoustical engineer or acoustician is often mostly involved with the practical applications of sound.)