Document Type



Life Sciences | Neuroscience and Neurobiology


There are numerous studies measuring the transfer functions representing signal transformation between a source and each ear canal, i.e., the
head-related transfer functions (HRTFs), for various species. However, only a handful of these address the effects of sound source distance on HRTFs. This
is the first study of HRTFs in the rabbit where the emphasis is on the effects of sound source distance and azimuth on HRTFs. With the rabbit placed in an
anechoic chamber, we made acoustic measurements with miniature microphones placed deep in each ear canal to a sound source at different positions (10–160 cm distance, ±150° azimuth). The sound was a logarithmically swept broadband chirp. For comparisons, we also obtained the HRTFs from a racquetball and a computational model for a rigid sphere. We found that (1) the spectral shape of the HRTF in each ear changed with sound source location; (2) interaural level difference (ILD) increased with decreasing distance and with increasing frequency. Furthermore, ILDs can be substantial
even at low frequencies when distance is close; and (3) interaural time difference (ITD) decreased with decreasing distance and generally increased with decreasing frequency. The observations in the rabbit were reproduced, in general, by those in the racquetball, albeit greater in magnitude in the rabbit. In the sphere model, the results were partly similar and partly different than those in the racquetball and the rabbit. These findings refute the common notions that ILD is negligible at low frequencies and that ITD is constant across frequency. These misconceptions became evident when distance-dependent changes were examined.


Originally published in :

J Assoc Res Otolaryngol. 2010 Dec;11(4):541-57. Epub 2010 Jun 5.

PMID: 20526728 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10162-010-0221-8
@2010 The Author(s). This article is published with open access at