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Sound Awareness: How Brains Filter, Process, and Interpret Noise

Ever notice that you can tune out background conversation until you hear someone say your name? How the sound of your cats running around at 2am doesn’t bother your sleep, but a strange noise will wake you? Your ears are constantly bombarded by environmental sounds; some are highly relevant, most are probably not. How does our brain know when to ignore certain sounds and when to take notice?  At what point does hearing become listening?  

The brain contains specialized neuronal circuitry in the form of feedback loops used to refine signals so that we can perceive the world and act accordingly. Of the senses, the auditory system is special because it is always ‘on’. To filter out the noise, the auditory brain can manipulate the incoming signal using circuits that enable fine tuning of gain control. 

Join us to explore how brains process sound with [sg_popup id="3157" event="click"]Dr. Kirupa Suthakar[/sg_popup], postdoctoral research fellow at the National Institutes of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)/National Institutes of Health (NIH). Kirupa’s work focuses on auditory neuroscience and on the relation between changes in brain circuitry and different forms of hearing loss. In this special ode to noise we’ll take a moment to appreciate the hidden complexity of sound in the world both around and within us. 

This event is held in collaboration with the national conference of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology.




Thursday, February 18, 2021


7:00 pm Pacific


8:30 pm Pacific



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