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URMC / Labs / Carney Lab / Projects / Auditory Processing of Complex Sounds

Auditory Processing of Complex Sounds

Vowel Sound

Model responses to a vowel sound (from Carney, 2018, JARO).

“Complex sounds” are sounds that are more complicated than a pure tone. Most interesting sounds fall into this category, including speech, environmental sounds, and background noise. When sounds contain more than one frequency, the different frequency components generally interact, sometimes in a complex manner. The nature of these interactions (which are due to nonlinearities in the inner ear) change after hearing loss. We study neural responses to complex sounds in the auditory midbrain. Our goal is to better understand how these sounds are encoded and processed along the auditory pathways in the brain. We are also beginning to study the potential effects of feedback mechanisms in the brain that influence the ear’s response.

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