It seems likely that audition, commonly known as hearing, initially evolved to alert organisms to significant events in the environment. Unlike visual stimuli, sounds can be detected whatever their direction of incidence. Hearing can indicate the presence of a predator or prey, and it can indicate the appropriate location to direct visual attention. Hearing can also convey information about the properties of sound-emitting objects, such as their size and whether they are approaching or receding, which may determine whether they are threatening or not. In many species, and especially in humans, hearing has evolved further as a means of communication, speech communication being the prime example. Indeed, the ability to convey information using sounds as symbols for objects and actions is one of the characteristics ...

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