Head shadowhead shadow effect, head shadow
A head shadow or acoustic shadow is a region of reduced amplitude of a sound because it is obstructed by the head12 Sound may have to travel through and around the head in order to reach an ear The obstruction caused by the head can account for a significant attenuation reduced amplitude of overall intensity as well as cause a filtering effect The filtering effects of head shadowing are an essential element of sound localisation—the brain weighs the relative amplitude, timbre, and phase of a sound heard by the two ears and uses the difference to interpret directional information
The shadowed ear, the ear further from the sound source, receives sound slightly later up to approximately 07 ms later than the unshadowed ear, and the timbre, or frequency spectrum, of the shadowed sound wave is different because of the obstruction of the head
The head shadow causes particular difficulty in sound localisation in people suffering from unilateral hearing loss3 It is a factor to consider when correcting hearing loss with directional hearing aids4
- Interaural intensity difference
- ^ "Head shadow, squelch, and summation effects in bilateral users of the MED-EL COMBI 40/40+ cochlear implant" Ear Hear 25 3: 197–204 June 2004 PMID 15179111 doi:101097/01aud00001307924331597
- ^ "Contribution of head shadow and pinna cues to chronic monaural sound localization" J Neurosci 24 17: 4163–71 April 2004 PMID 15115811 doi:101523/JNEUROSCI0048-042004
- ^ "Understanding speech in noise after correction of congenital unilateral aural atresia: effects of age in the emergence of binaural squelch but not in use of head-shadow" Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol 73 9: 1281–7 September 2009 PMID 19581007 doi:101016/jijporl200905024
- ^ Directionality and the head-shadow effect Cherish Oberzut and Laurel Olson The Hearing Journal Vol 56 No 4 April 2003
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