Hearing management

Updated 13 December 2017

Men have better 'cocktail party' hearing

Men are better than women at determining the location of a sound in a noisy setting, a talent that may have developed through evolution, researchers say.

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Men are better than women at determining the location of a sound in a noisy setting, a talent that may have developed through evolution, researchers say.

They tested the audio-spatial abilities of men and women by having them listen to sounds and determine the location of the sound source. At first, the sounds were presented one at a time, and both men and women had high levels of accuracy.

But the women found the task much more difficult than men when several sounds were presented simultaneously and the participants had to pinpoint the source of only one sound. This ability to detect and concentrate on just one sound in a noisy setting is known as the "cocktail party phenomenon", the researchers said. In some cases, the women thought the sounds were coming from the opposite direction.

The study appears in the June issue of the journal Cortex.

Men also tend to do better than women in visuospatial abilities, such as finding their way in new places. Writing in a journal news release, the researchers said it has been suggested that men have developed these spatial abilities as the result of natural and sexual selection throughout human evolution.


(Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)

 

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Rene Hornby has been the owner of a private practice in Pretoria since 1999. AuD degree obtained in 2013 at AT Still University Health Science Depart-ment, Arizona. Masters in Communication Pathology at the University of Pretoria, 2003. Remedial Teaching Diploma at Rand University, 1996. Degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at the University of Pretoria, 1993. Owner of a private practice in Pretoria since 1999. Educating the community regarding early identification of hearing problems and screening of new-borns. Providing assistance and services at retirement homes. Part-time lecturer at the University of Pretoria and the University of Limpopo. External examiner at the University of Pretoria and the University of Limpopo. Presenter at conferences and seminars.

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