Working together, your two ears can detect a sound’s origin.
From hearing a cry for help to finding someone at a noisy party, sound localization is a skill we rely on constantly. Depending on their frequency or direction, some sounds are easier to locate than others.
Having two ears—binaural hearing—allows us to locate the horizontal origin of a sound. Sound coming from the right or the left reaches one ear before the other. Our brain uses this timing difference to find the direction of the sound source.Because of the positions of our ears, we’re better at locating the horizontal source of a sound than the vertical source. To compensate, we tilt our heads and move our ears relative to the sound source.