Have you ever felt like you were hearing sounds that were not actually there? Like your ears were “filling in” gaps?
It is actually quite normal and scientists at Maastricht University in The Netherlands are studying this mechanism by which the human brain “fills in” sound.
The human ear picks up on many sounds at a time and many different sounds compete for attention. When you focus on a single sound – say, someone talking – other sounds can interrupt it. When this happens, the brain may actually fill in information that your ears do not actually pick up. For instance, if a word is interrupted by a loud crash in the middle of someone’s speech, our brains seem to fill in the information that we missed, giving us the illusion that we heard the complete word.
Scientists say that this may influence the design of future hearing aids.