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The Story of Human Speech and Hearing
David Howard

  • Friday 16 June 2017, 7.40PM to 8.40pm
  • Free admission
    Booking required
  • The Lakehouse, Ron Cooke Hub, University of York (map|getting to campus)
  • Wheelchair accessible

Event details

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Sound forms a basic part of our lives; in terms of hearing it, we have no 'ear lids' so cannot turn it off.  David Howard of Royal Holloway, University of London discusses the nature of sound. How is it used for communication? How is it used for music? How do we make sense of the sounds around us? Join David as he explores the basis of human hearing and how we understand speech.

Speech is basic to human communication and it has evolved with a link between its production and perception. The functioning of the human hearing system in terms of its overall frequency range and overall function enables speech to be understood even in situations where there are high-level adverse background acoustics.

David will discuss hearing the message in different acoustic situations. Hearing voices, for example in empty buildings when there is nobody else there, is one phenomenon that can be very disturbing.

He’ll also turn his attention to modern hearing aids. While they benefit from knowledge of human speech perception and the functioning of the hearing system to make them significantly more effective than they were some decades ago, users still sometimes want to turn them off for best reception. Find out why this happens.

David will also explain what the writings of a 12th- century Bishop can tell us about speech production.

About the speaker

Professor David Howard was at the University of York in the Department of Electronics for just over a quarter of a century, where he was Head of Department for two stints. He has moved to Royal Holloway, University of London to start a new department of Electronic Engineering with the aim of recruiting a greater proportion of female students that the national norm of around 10 to 15 per cent.


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