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Re: 'pressure at the ears' visiting an anechoic chamber

Dear Ronald and list,

My guess is that this feeling of pressure is an association set up via
learning. The only way that people would normaly get such an low level of
sound as is experienced in an anechoic chamber (which is also, typically,
a sound-isolated chamber) is when they pressed the heels of their hands
firmly against their ears.  I would imagine that most children have done
this.  In this situation, the attenuation is accompanied by actual
pressure.  When you go in and out of the acechoic chamber many times, you
are undoing the correlation between pressure and sound attenuation, so the
experience of pressure goes away.

Incidentally, the first time I entered an ordinary double walled
sound-attenuating chamber I had the same feeling.


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 Fri, 23 Oct 1998, dr. R.M. Aarts wrote:

> Dear readers,
> When visitors enter -for the first time- our (rather large) anechoic
> chamber, they are always complaining about the strange 'pressure at
> their ears'. Similar as listening to 'much out of phase' signals in

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