How to hear above the cocktail party din

How to hear above the cocktail party din

Repeating a sound may allow listeners to focus in on it

By Alexandra Witze, 14:14 PM January 3, 2011

To try your hand at picking out a sound, click here.

It’s the bane (or savior) of every holiday cocktail party: the constant background buzz that makes it hard to hear the guy from accounting droning on. Now, researchers have taken a step toward understanding how people’s hearing systems pick out one sound among many.

The key is repetition, according to experiments reported the week of January 3 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Hearing a sound again and again in diff...

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