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Seeing-hearing impedance

 
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There is a tram line near the place I live, or, rather, two lines going in the opposite directions. Intensive traffic on the line starts at about 5 am, and by 6 am I figured that while I can (obviously) tell from which direction the train comes if I see it, I am completely unable to do this if I only hear the sound. I wonder if this is only me, and if not, then why such difference? After all, we have two eyes and two ears, shouldn't they provide similar results?
 
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Martha Simmons wrote:There is a tram line near the place I live, or, rather, two lines going in the opposite directions. Intensive traffic on the line starts at about 5 am, and by 6 am I figured that while I can (obviously) tell from which direction the train comes if I see it, I am completely unable to do this if I only hear the sound. I wonder if this is only me, and if not, then why such difference? After all, we have two eyes and two ears, shouldn't they provide similar results?



Apparently, there is such a thing as a hearing dyslexia:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/11/031110054404.htm

Another explanation is much more mundane. Perhaps there is some acoustical effects around the area which make it difficult to tell where the sound is coming from. Ask someone if they can tell where the train is.
 
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Sounds mirrors more easily than light.
 
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Bear wrote:Sounds mirrors more easily than light.



Very true. The fact that there are several orders of magnitude between the wavelengths makes a huge difference.

Martha wrote:After all, we have two eyes and two ears, shouldn't they provide similar results?



Most of us also have two lungs, and two legs. (Among other things that occur in twos) Should these also be able to tell us which way a train is coming from?

More seriously: compare a person with one eye to a person with one ear. I imagine that a single eye provides much more sense of direction than a single ear does. A great deal of directional information comes, directly, from having even a single eye. Having two provides depth perception, and a wider field of view - but most of the directional information you get was available even with only one eye. In comparison, a single ear provides no directional information unless you dynamically change its orientation to see how that affects the signal.

So, I think there's no particular reason to think that sight and vision should provide similar results. I
 
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JS: Another explanation is much more mundane. Perhaps there is some acoustical effects around the area which make it difficult to tell where the sound is coming from.

Bear: Sounds mirrors more easily than light.


Seems most likely. I was thinking that if say, somebody talks in the room, I can tell whether the sounds comes from the left or from the right. Another hypothesis: can it be that the distance from the source of the sounds alone is responsible for the loss of directional information?

MS: Most of us also have two lungs, and two legs. (Among other things that occur in twos) Should these also be able to tell us which way a train is coming from?

That’s not what they are supposed to do, right? So I wouldn’t expect them to, no.

So, I think there's no particular reason to think that sight and vision should provide similar results

Can’t you usually tell where the sound comes from?
 
Martha Simmons
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Just googled out: How We Localize Sound. Need to read it...
 
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I was looking for some information regarding frequencies a train can produce, and found this wonderful graph:



An electrical train near Moscow was measured.
(Source. PDF).

Thought you should now.

 
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