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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Marjorie R. Leek, PhD (Walter Reed Army Medical Center)
Description: This is the fifth edition of a book that first appeared in 1977 covering hearing science in a logical fashion, with a comprehensive bibliography and indexing. The author is a celebrated expert on hearing, and has made extensive contributions to the original research described in the book.
Purpose: It is meant as a text for undergraduate and graduate students in psychology, speech and hearing science, and audiology. The book is also intended as a reference for researchers and professionals in many areas related to acoustics and hearing, such as engineers, physicians, and musicians. The book is needed, especially for students, and it meets the author's objectives.
Audience: According to the author, the book is directed primarily to graduate students in psychology and to both graduate and undergraduate students in audiology and hearing science. It is at an appropriate level for these readers. The author is a world-recognized expert in the field.
Features: The book is organized in a logical manner, with an initial chapter covering the physics of sound and anatomy and physiology of the auditory system. In addition to chapters on the usual topics in hearing science, there are chapters on pattern and object perception and speech perception, more cognitively-based phenomena that are (unfortunately) sometimes excluded from books on hearing science. A final chapter addresses more applied issues of hearing aids and music reproduction systems. The book includes a lengthy bibliography so that readers can easily find primary source material.
Assessment: This is an exceptionally valuable book that is used by most active researchers in the field, both as a reference and as prescribed reading for students. It is unique with regard to its scope of coverage and the level of discourse. The closest competitor would probably be Yost's Fundamentals of Hearing: An Introduction, 4th edition (Academic Press, 2000), but it is more for undergraduates and less sophisticated students. Given that the previous edition was five years ago, and that there have been considerable advances in the study of hearing, this new edition is needed. In addition to updating the chapters with more recent research, the author has also reorganized the book to improve the flow and the logical sequence of the chapters.