Meet Your Friends

With two ears, you can identify the location of a sound source and can react appropriately.

With two ears, you can also follow a conversation much better and are likely to understand all the key words. Listening to all sorts of sounds is a lot easier with two ears rather than with just one.

With one ear, you have to guess where an unexpected sound is coming from. If you get it right though, you will have guessed well.

Following a conversation with one ear, especially in a noisy environment like a restaurant, school class, or kindergarten, is very difficult and exhausting.

Experience description

We used virtual acoustics to give you the impression of sitting in a busy restaurant, with other guests talking at the neighboring tables. The acoustic experiment is based on and inspired by research with users of bilateral cochlear implants by Jacques Grange [1]. Similar to Jaques Grange, we positioned the voices of Michael (the scientist), Rose and Roberto (alias Bob) acoustically. The distracting voices from the neighboring tables as well as the noises you have to locate are placed in the same manner. 

If you decide to listen with only one ear, we will switch off one side to simulate how a person with only one healthy ear might experience such a situation.

The conversation Michael invites you to follow is inspired by a test method used in audiology. Try to identify target words within sentences spoken by Roberto. While he is talking, so are other people on neighboring tables, which makes it even harder for you to understand what Roberto says. This specific method, which replicates a typical conversation situation, has been inspired by research by Joshua Bernstein [2].


  1. Grange J, Culling J. (2016). Head orientation benefit to speech intelligibility in noise for cochlear implant users and in realistic listening conditions. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 140, 4061 (2016); doi: 10.1121/1.4968515
  2. Bernstein J, Goupell M, Schuchman G, Rivera A, Brungart D. (2016). Having Two Ears Facilitates the Perceptual Separation of Concurrent Talkers for Bilateral and Single-Sided Deaf Cochlear Implantees. Ear Hear. 2016 May-Jun;37(3):289-302. doi: 10.1097/AUD.0000000000000284.
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