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Re: [AUDITORY] Localizing smoke detectors - why is it so hard?
I believe the answer is primarily in the transducer: to make the beeper cheep, they use a resonant transducer, which has a slow buildup at the onset and makes the resulting signal not very broadband at all, depriving you of all ITD cues. And they make the beeps so brief that you don't have much chance to turn your head and vary the ILD cue; and so far apart in time that you get impatient waiting for the next beep for your next chance to find it. And you're in a very echoic environment where the echos of the narrowband beep off the walls make standing nulls to further confuse the ILD cue.
The beepers on carts in airports have the same problem. They can come up behind you and make a loud beeping noise, but you have no idea they are there -- they seem to be designed to defeat any possible usable spatial cues.
There ought to be a law ... oh, wait, there probably is, contributing to the problem.