New Research on Pitch Perception

Pitch is an aspect of sound that is important for understanding speech, enjoying music, and listening in noisy places. People with hearing loss often have impaired pitch perception. This is especially true for people who use cochlear implants. Poor pitch perception can affect people's ability to enjoy music and hear what others are saying in noisy places. Scientists are still not sure how the ear and the brain deciphers pitch. This recent study from an I-LABS scientist, Bonnie Lau shows that a “place code” in the ear and the brain can produce pitch. This finding has important implications for the design of devices such as cochlear implants to help restore pitch perception for people with hearing loss.