The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Would we be able to hear better with bigger ears?  (Read 13164 times)

Offline Chemistry4me

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 7709
    • View Profile
The second installment of questions that don't make sense.
In this issue, would I be able to have hearing like Superman if I had big ears?


 

Offline Karen W.

  • Moderator
  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *****
  • Posts: 31653
  • Thanked: 5 times
  • "come fly with me"
    • View Profile
Re: Would we be able to hear better with bigger ears?
« Reply #1 on: 16/05/2009 05:07:38 »
Maybe better then your average man...Lol..bigger ears  do help capture sound and bounce it back into the ear drum... sort of....
 

Offline JnA

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1093
  • Stunt Scientist
    • View Profile
Re: Would we be able to hear better with bigger ears?
« Reply #2 on: 16/05/2009 06:07:07 »
I assume you are talking about the pinna. Would it collect *more* sound or collect sound sooner?

My gut feeling is that it would just help in hearing more rather than hearing better. If we had no pinna I suspect we would still be able to hear, just would have to turn our heads in sound directions more.

Maybe, unless the pinna are sail size, the change would be too subtle to make a difference.
 

Offline Chemistry4me

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 7709
    • View Profile
Re: Would we be able to hear better with bigger ears?
« Reply #3 on: 16/05/2009 06:20:01 »
So nothing to do with the 'receptors' this time huh?
 

Offline JnA

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1093
  • Stunt Scientist
    • View Profile
Re: Would we be able to hear better with bigger ears?
« Reply #4 on: 16/05/2009 06:27:33 »
Can Superman hear through walls?
 

Offline Chemistry4me

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 7709
    • View Profile
Re: Would we be able to hear better with bigger ears?
« Reply #5 on: 16/05/2009 06:29:56 »
Not sure but he can see through them with his x-ray vision. :)
 

Offline JnA

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1093
  • Stunt Scientist
    • View Profile
Re: Would we be able to hear better with bigger ears?
« Reply #6 on: 16/05/2009 06:37:12 »
Being able to hear through walls is amplification.. so I guess the mechanism for that sort of talent would lie in the ear drum. So you would need to get yourself a bigger (or maybe thinner) drum.


Xray vision would be neat.. for that you'd need some "gentlemen, we can rebuild him" sort of technology. Did he see like an xray (eg densities) or did just the walls become 'invisible' to him?
 

Offline Chemistry4me

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 7709
    • View Profile
Re: Would we be able to hear better with bigger ears?
« Reply #7 on: 16/05/2009 06:49:27 »
Seems like x-ray vision could be possible in the near future: http://silverscorpio.com/superman-like-vision-may-soon-be-a-reality/
 

Offline Chemistry4me

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 7709
    • View Profile
Re: Would we be able to hear better with bigger ears?
« Reply #8 on: 16/05/2009 06:53:00 »
Did he see like an xray (eg densities) or did just the walls become 'invisible' to him?
I am pretty sure it is the former.
 

Offline Karen W.

  • Moderator
  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *****
  • Posts: 31653
  • Thanked: 5 times
  • "come fly with me"
    • View Profile
Re: Would we be able to hear better with bigger ears?
« Reply #9 on: 16/05/2009 07:23:36 »
Does that mean one day I could ask my superman what do I have on... and he could look through the wall to see what I don't have on!...lol...Neato! I want X-ray vision too!
 

Offline Raghavendra

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 835
  • Quantum
    • View Profile
    • Raghavendra
Re: Would we be able to hear better with bigger ears?
« Reply #10 on: 16/05/2009 07:27:15 »
No no.. we can't .. but we hear less than normal human
 

Offline Chemistry4me

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 7709
    • View Profile
Re: Would we be able to hear better with bigger ears?
« Reply #11 on: 16/05/2009 07:38:52 »
We are human! How can we hear less than ourselves? ???
Impossible.
 

Offline RD

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8130
  • Thanked: 53 times
    • View Profile
Re: Would we be able to hear better with bigger ears?
« Reply #12 on: 16/05/2009 08:46:34 »
Q. Would we be able to hear better with bigger ears?

A. 
 

http://scienceblogs.com/retrospectacle/2007/12/vintage_ear_trumpets.php
 

Offline Chemistry4me

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 7709
    • View Profile
Re: Would we be able to hear better with bigger ears?
« Reply #13 on: 16/05/2009 09:01:26 »
So I guess that is a 'yes'?
 

Offline Don_1

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6890
  • Thanked: 7 times
  • A stupid comment for every occasion.
    • View Profile
    • Knight Light Haulage
Re: Would we be able to hear better with bigger ears?
« Reply #14 on: 16/05/2009 13:47:25 »
Elephants have Big Ears, Noddy is refusing to pay the ransom!

 

Offline RD

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8130
  • Thanked: 53 times
    • View Profile
Re: Would we be able to hear better with bigger ears?
« Reply #15 on: 16/05/2009 14:37:17 »
Big concrete ear ...



Quote
In the 1920s the British military used these vast concrete parabolic 'sound-mirrors' to detect approaching aircraft. The 'Listening Ears' at Denge have recently been designated as a historical preservation site by English Heritage, the government quango in charge of protecting national landmarks.
http://www.boingboing.net/2009/03/03/britains-vast-cement.html
 

Offline Chemistry4me

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 7709
    • View Profile
Re: Would we be able to hear better with bigger ears?
« Reply #16 on: 17/05/2009 00:44:41 »
Okay, I think we have YES as an answer. But the ear would have to be quite big.
 

Offline JnA

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1093
  • Stunt Scientist
    • View Profile
Re: Would we be able to hear better with bigger ears?
« Reply #17 on: 17/05/2009 01:52:32 »
Huge elephant sized ears that are rigid enough to collect sound (I'm still dubious about the amplification thing)   

I'm sure no-one will notice C4M if you get the necessary adjustments done ;)
 

Offline Chemistry4me

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 7709
    • View Profile
Re: Would we be able to hear better with bigger ears?
« Reply #18 on: 17/05/2009 01:59:32 »
I hear you loud and clear mate!

 

Offline Karen W.

  • Moderator
  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *****
  • Posts: 31653
  • Thanked: 5 times
  • "come fly with me"
    • View Profile
Re: Would we be able to hear better with bigger ears?
« Reply #19 on: 17/05/2009 05:41:23 »
Oh My Goodness...How cute...That baby is adorable with those big ears..awwwwwwww!!!!!!
 

lyner

  • Guest
Re: Would we be able to hear better with bigger ears?
« Reply #20 on: 17/05/2009 18:14:53 »
Just having more sound  gathering ability wouldn't improve the dynamic range of your hearing. You'd constantly he putting your fingers in your ears or you'd soon have damage due to overload.
It's an example of overall design. With normal hearing, you can pretty much hear the blood pumping round your head when you are in very quiet conditions. You couldn't expect to be able to get more sensitive than that.

Btw Karen, it's probably been Photoshopped! LOLr
 

Offline Chemistry4me

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 7709
    • View Profile
Re: Would we be able to hear better with bigger ears?
« Reply #21 on: 18/05/2009 06:14:34 »
Okay, what about something like JnA said "get yourself a bigger (or maybe thinner) drum"? Will that work to amplify the sound, without needing to have elephant ears?
 

Offline JnA

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1093
  • Stunt Scientist
    • View Profile
Re: Would we be able to hear better with bigger ears?
« Reply #22 on: 18/05/2009 06:57:12 »
On thinking further, a larger drum gets lower in pitch, but not necessarily louder...

I wonder how they bioniced 'the bionic man's' ear?
 

Offline Raghavendra

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 835
  • Quantum
    • View Profile
    • Raghavendra
Re: Would we be able to hear better with bigger ears?
« Reply #23 on: 18/05/2009 11:11:04 »
bigger ear small wave pulse, smaller ear greater effect on ear drums
 

lyner

  • Guest
Re: Would we be able to hear better with bigger ears?
« Reply #24 on: 18/05/2009 12:24:49 »
On thinking further, a larger drum gets lower in pitch, but not necessarily louder...

I wonder how they bioniced 'the bionic man's' ear?
If you look on the ear as a 'matching device' to couple sound energy better to the ear drum, then the bigger the pinna, the better low frequency response. The area and thickness of the drum will be pretty optimal, you can be sure - bearing in mind other constraints. The word "amplify" is not strictly the correct one because that would imply added energy. What the drum, ossicles etc, do is to transform the movement of the air in the ear into movements of the hairs in the cochlea which are best suited (or 'matched') to the impedance of these hairs. With good matching, the maximum of energy is transmitted  and not reflected back. If you don't match properly, even a huge gathering device can't make use of the energy.
A horn (which is basically what the pinna is, has a  wideband response and will work well for high frequencies. The area also, of course, intercepts more energy. Don't they reckon elephants' ears are really cooling devices, though?
I recently acquired two hearing aids. Very impressive but birdsong is just too piercing!! There is some fairly intelligent compression at work in the device but the initial attack of a loud noise can be disturbing. Does that make me bionic?

BTW did anyone hear a news item about a guy with a wireless tv camera in an eye socket, as a prosthetic. He does investigative reporting - the ultimate hidden camera!
« Last Edit: 18/05/2009 12:32:16 by sophiecentaur »
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: Would we be able to hear better with bigger ears?
« Reply #24 on: 18/05/2009 12:24:49 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums