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Tune Your Brain to Hear Another in a Noisy Ambience

A major science prize, Pauline Ashley Prize 2007 was awarded to a UK researcher who has been in a quest for a region// in the human brain that could help to single out somebody's voice in a noisy environment like in a party or get together and also responsible for training the brain to hear better in such circumstances.

It has been noted that inability to identify or hear another person's voice in a noisy room is one of the most frequently encountered difficulty by over 9 million people with hearing impairment in Britain. A leading medical charity in UK, Deafness Research UK has awarded the prestigious Pauline Ashley Prize 2007 to Sam Irving, a dynamic researcher at the MRC Institute for Hearing Research in Nottingham.

Established in memory of the charity's founder, Lady Ashley of Stoke, The Pauline Ashley Prize , is awarded annually to a deserving talented young scientist who is at the initial stages of his/her career and undertaking research into deafness or conditions related to it such as tinnitus.

Most people with a hearing impairment have trouble picking out what someone is saying when they're in a noisy room. Parties or bars are some of the worst places because the level of background noise is high, and so scientists call this the "cocktail party effect".

To see what this was like, Irving wore an earplug in one ear for a week which gave him a one-sided hearing loss. He said: "It was hell - especially when I was in the pub with friends. The background hubbub of the bar seemed to be the same level as the people I was talking to so I could barely hear what they were saying and it took a huge effort of concentration to follow any conversation. During the week, I gave up and spent a lot of time at home on my own because it was so distressing and tiring to be with lots of people or in a noisy place."

Our ability to detect a particular sound in the middle of lots of noise relies on the fact that we have
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