Was ist eine akustische Täuschung?

What is an acoustic deception?

Maybe you know that you can't always rely 100% on your sensory perception. Surely you know the typical phenomenon of optical deception. A Fata Morgana is certainly a term for you. This creates the illusion of size ratios or premises. There are also intentional representations, which, for example, are very often used in art, on postcards or in calendars.

Much less known, however, is that it also acoustic deceptions gives. You sometimes interpret the sounds that you perceive from your surroundings differently than they actually are. In our guide you will learn some examples.


Concealed tones

It happens that you can hear two sounds at the same time, which differ very little in terms of height. Then you just take the louder charm was conscious. The decisive factor is that one of these two sounds is much louder than the other.

The clever inventors of the MP3-Formates took advantage of this acoustic deception. When music is played, some of the sounds can simply be omitted. After all, man barely takes some sounds anyway. This plays an important role in digitization. Data transmission is also affected in the process. The smaller the files, the better. In this case, only a minimum amount of space is required to store music files or to transmit them more quickly on the Internet.


The acoustic phenomenon of the Shepard scale

The so-called Shepard Skala deals with an acoustic phenomenon in which several targets are played simultaneously. The tones are different. However, because the volume changes in time, you as a listener feel that you are listening to a scale. But in truth, you only ever hear the same sounds, and each of these sounds has a different volume. On the Internet you will find many beautiful sound examples. Some of the effects you can perceive are very futuristic. Artists also imitate this deception, for example in piano pieces. This phenomenon is sometimes even used by organ pipes in certain melodies. This creates a very floating sound experience.


Melodies with mysterious background

Diana Deutsch is a well-known American music psychologist. She found out in her studies that it is usually not possible to recognize arbitrarily selected fragments of a melody without a coherent context. However, once the subject has heard the complete piece of music, it is possible for him to derive the entire melody from the fragments. The missing passages can supplement your brain if necessary. In the head you then hear the whole song, although you can only perceive individual tones of it.


Space sound effect due to stereophony

A special spatial sound effect can be Stereofonie are generated. Basically, only two different loudspeaker systems are required for this, which reproduce the tones. With a skillful control, the illusion arises that the sound source would be located elsewhere in the room than is actually the case. This special effect is often used in cinema or at a concert.

It will be particularly interesting for 3D-Animationen. A spatial image is then added to the optical illusion. The prerequisite is that the sounds are placed exactly in the right place. You feel the resulting impression as even more realistic, and sometimes you can almost no longer distinguish between film and reality.


The special McGurk effect 

Do you know for sure that you can hear exactly what someone says? If you are really so sure, you can do it once with the McGurk effect try out. This is a very interesting acoustic deception: a listening experience is superimposed by optical perception. It is always decisive which movement the speaker performs with his mouth. You actually think you're hearing other words. However, the stored sound sequence does not change at all.

With this effect you find that you can even read lips unconsciously, but for accurate recognition you need some exercise.


The tinnitus as a deception

One of the most famous and unpleasant acoustic deceptions is the Tinnitus. These are actually pure phantom sounds in your ear. You can hear them, but they don't really exist. A tinnitus can be very disturbing for you. Especially when the tinnitus proves to be permanent, it becomes really unpleasant.


Triggers for tinnitus include:

  • Accidents
  • Traumas of the hearing due to short- or long-term overload
  • Stress

In the case of a tinnitus, different treatment approaches are possible, for example medicinal, psychological or physiological therapies.

A hearing aid can also contribute to the successful treatment of your tinnitus.


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