Improving hearing "Signal to Noise" by turning your head

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Summary:

Why does turning your head often improve hearing in noisy situations?

Main Question or Discussion Point

I have long found myself turning my head fairly quickly when a noise steps on something I'm trying to hear. Sometimes it is just a noise like a bang or a pop that steps on a conversation I'm listening to, and sometimes it will happen when another person starts to speak and interferes with a conversation that is already going on.

I'd assumed up to now that it was the slewing phase of the sound getting to my two ears while I turned my head that helped my brain to process out the noise and focus better on what I'm trying to hear, but I did a Google search this morning and found that it may actually be that the right ear is the preferred ear for the best sound processing. Now that I see that, I do think that is the direction that I've always been turning my head.

Has anybody seen research about the slewing phase aspect of human sound processing? Or is it just as simple as the right ear (and the corresponding area of the brain) being better? Thanks.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/12/06/say-turning-right-ear-sound-helps-hear-better-scientists-find/
https://www.prima.co.uk/diet-and-health/healthy-living/news/a41735/hearing-problems-turn-head-to-right/
 

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Bystander
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Summary: Why does turning your head often improve hearing in noisy situations?

that steps on a conversation I'm listening to
When you know the voice, you gain signal to noise ratio; Nam and radios, operators who knew each other's voices could pick up x-missions buried in "off-squelch" static regardless of which ear...to the point of picking up sarcastic inflections.
 
tech99
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When stereo sound was developed, there was a lot of interest in how the ears perform direction finding. I think the conclusion is that for low frequencies, the ears can detect a phase difference, but for high frequencies, say above 1kHz, they rely on the amplitude difference. The head is about half a wavelength diameter at 1kHz, and the ear trumpets are about half a wavelength diameter at about 5 kHz, so will be most effective above this frequency (at low frequencies they still help match the mechanical characteristics of ther ear drum to that of the air). As the ears are on the sides of the head, they have a cardioid pattern directed to left and right, with an equal amplitude direction in the middle. Of course, the front/rear ambiguity can be removed by just turning the head slightly and seeing if the sound direction moves the correct way. No one mentioned right ear preference during stereo development as far as I know.
 

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