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Module title Physiology and Psychology of Hearing
Module code AUDI6009
Module lead

Stefan Bleeck

Module lead profile url:
External Examiner: Dr Kai Uus
Faculty Engineering & the Environment
Academic unit FEE Ed - Audiology
Academic session first offered 201516
Credit Points ECTS 7.5
Level Postgraduate taught
When will the module be taught Semester 1
Pre-requisite and/or co-requisite modules
Programmes in which the module is core
Programmes in which the module is compulsory
Programmes in which the module is optional
Date of last edit 16th Dec 2015 - 11:20am

Module overview

This module is relates to the basic physiological and psychological processes involved in hearing and tinnitus, and
is suitable for those pursuing clinical training in audiology or research training in hearing and communication science.

Aims and learning outcomes


Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to:

  • To introduce you to basic concepts in acoustics necessary to understand hearing and tinnitus
  • To introduce the anatomy and physiology of the auditory system
  • To introduce you to the capabilities of the auditory system that define normal hearing in quantitative terms and how those capabilities are measured
  • To show you how these processes and capabilities are affected by the most common forms of hearing disorder and the consequences for auditory performance

Disciplinary Specific

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to:

  • A. Explain the structure and function of the principal components of the human auditory system, the ways in which they are functionally integrated with each other and the bases of common forms of hearing impairment and tinnitus in terms of appropriate acoustical, engineering and biological principles
  • B. Explain the principal capabilities and limitations of human hearing and basic consequences of common forms of hearing loss in terms of appropriate acoustical, engineering and psychological principles
  • C. Critically evaluate the common methods used to investigate human hearing and tinnitus
  • D. Critically evaluate scientific literature on hearing to infer the consequences of pathophysiological states of the auditory system on human hearing and potential rehabilitation strategies

Graduate Attributes

Graduate Attributes are the personal qualities, skills and understandings that University of Southampton students have the opportunity to develop. They include but extend beyond subject-specific knowledge of an academic discipline and its technical proficiencies. The Graduate Attributes are achieved through the successful attainment of the learning outcomes of the programmes, and successful engagement with the University’s co-curriculum e.g. the Graduate Passport.

A checklist for embedding the graduate attributes is available at:

Summary of syllabus content

  • To introduce you to basic acoustics required to understand the module
  • To describe the anatomy of the outer, middle and inner ears and their relationship to the bones of the skull
  • To provide you with an understanding of the function of the outer, middle and inner ear based on established and emerging theory
  • To introduce current concepts of the anatomy and physiology of the central auditory nervous system
  • To relate the consequences of physiological dysfunction to features of hearing loss and tinnitus in humans
  • To introduce you to the domains that define the physical characteristics of sound (intensity, frequency, time, direction) and the corresponding perceptual domains (loudness, pitch, temporal characteristic, localisation/lateralisation)
  • To describe the psychophysical methods used to measure the various auditory capabilities including speech recognition and by demonstration develop your awareness of the tasks involved
  • To describe the main theories related to detection and discrimination of sounds and develop your appreciation of the statistical nature of detection and discrimination tasks
  • To define the range of normal hearing so that you can evaluate individual cases to identify and describe deviations from normality
  • To describe the consequences of the most common forms of hearing disorder in terms of auditory capabilities, tinnitus and speech recognition performance to enable you to evaluate the consequences for individual cases
  • To introduce you to primary research literature to show how the methods described in the module are used in leading-edge studies

Summary of teaching and learning methods

Weekly lectures and tutorials, and fortnightly mini-assignments which will form discussion during tutorials and on which you will receive feedback during tutorials.

Study time allocation

Contact hours: 40

Private Study hours: 110

Total study time: 150

Summary of assessment and Feedback methods

Assessment Method Number % contribution to final mark Final assessment (✔)
Assignment 100%

Referral Method

By set coursework assignment(s)

New assignment 1 x 100%

Method of Repeat Year

Repeat year internally

Repeat year externally

Cost Implications


Appendix: KIS hours

Contact hours for Teaching:Hours
Seminars (including sessions with outside speakers)0
Practical Classes and Workshops (including Boat work)0
Project supervision0
Demonstration Sessions0
Supervised time in studios/workshops/laboratories0
External Visits0
Summer Workshops0
Work Based Learning0
Independent studyHours
Preparation for scheduled sessions16
Follow-up work16
Wider reading or practice10
Completion of assessment task68
Placement Hours0
Year Placement0
6 Month Placement0