ARC Laureate Workshop
ARC Laureate Workshop: Creating a Sense of Auditory Space
23-24 October 2017
Level 1 Lecture Theatre, The Australian Hearing Hub, Macquarie University
Binaural hearing, particularly the ability to detect small differences in the timing of sounds at the two ears (interaural time differences, ITDs) underpins the ability to localize sound sources, and is important for decoding complex spatial listening environments into separate objects – a critical factor in “cocktail-party listening”. The relevance of binaural hearing to communication in every-day listening situations is increasingly recognized in therapeutic interventions; for example, children born deaf now receive bilateral cochlear implants.
Despite its importance in key listening tasks, however, brain mechanisms responsible for spatial listening remain poorly understood (certainly compared with visual spatial processing), and the potential benefits of binaural hearing for users of hearing aids and cochlear implants slow to be realized. Establishing how binaural hearing is generated in the auditory brain is a key goal of scientists, engineers and clinicians encompassing disciplines as diverse as acoustics and cognitive science.
This two-day workshop brings together global leaders in the field of binaural and spatial hearing—spanning expertise in human spatial listening, brain-imaging techniques for assessing binaural performance, animal physiology & neural modelling, and therapeutic interventions such as bilateral cochlear implantation—to discuss the state-of-the-art and the way forward if we are to understand how the brain generates a sense of auditory space, and how that spatial processing might be restored in individuals with hearing problems.