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Re: Beats


It is possible that the piano tuner suffered from an otoacoustic emission;
that is, an actual acoustic signal generated in the inner ear.  I will
forward your observation to the auditory list to see whether anyone else
has a reply to your question.

- Al

Albert S. Bregman,  Professor,  Dept of Psychology,  McGill University
1205  Docteur Penfield Avenue,   Montreal,  Quebec,  Canada   H3A 1B1.
Phone: +1 514-398-6103  Fax: -4896 Email: bregman@hebb.psych.mcgill.ca
Lab Web Page: http://www.psych.mcgill.ca/labs/auditory/laboratory.html

On Mon, 23 Jun 1997, James Wright wrote:

> Hi Al,
> I'm working at home this morning and happened to hear a CBC interview with
> Glenn Gould's piano tuner (now retired).
> He made a very interesting comment regarding an affliction he developed.  He
> said that later in his life he developed a fairly persistent and
> intense tinnitus.  I was especially interested in the following anecdote:
> "It really drove me crazy.  For example, one day I was on a bus and at
> every stop, when the driver applied the brakes, they let out a steady
> high-pitched squeal.  Every time it happened, I could hear, very clearly,
> the beating between the squeal of the brakes and my tinnitus."
> It seems to me that this is a fascinating and rare/coincidental piece of
> testimony for several reasons:
> 1) you have someone who happened to suffer from tinnitus
> 2) who was also perceptive enough (as a result of training
> and experience as a piano tuner) to describe the "beating" between the
> tinnitus and an external sound.
> 3) who happened to be on a bus with brakes producing a steady squeal
> 4) the frequency of which happened to be within beating range of his tinnitus
> With your understanding auditory physiology, do you think this anecdote
> might tell us something we don't already know about beats, tinnitus, or both?
> Best - Jim
> James Wright
> jawright@ccs.carleton.ca
> Phone: (613) 523-7846
> Fax: (613) 523-8486