Human Auditory Frequency Range Limitations (Hardware or Software)

Chris Brooker
April 27, 2009

It’s known that the human ear can generally hear sounds with frequencies between 20 Hz and 20 kHz and that the range only decrease with age and with hearing damage. Yet, I wonder where in the human machine does this limitation lie?

Is this a limitation of our auditory detecting hardware (cochlea)? or is this a limitation with our processing bandwidth (brain, temporal lobe)?

If this is simply a limitation of our auditory hardware than improving on this functionality would be trivial. Provided we can create sufficient interfaces to the nervous system. There is an article detailing our progress as of 2007 in this article Auditory Nerve Implant Next Big Hearing Loss Breakthrough?. However, I still have not been able to determine if our frequency range limitation is hardware or software.

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