A Spouse’s Voice Rings Loudest in a Crowded Room

ABC News:

You’re at a crowded party, and two voices are competing for your attention: one from your spouse, the other from a stranger. Who are you most likely to hear? Your spouse, according to new research.

So which voice are you most likely to ignore? Your spouse, but that depends on how long you have been married. If you are middle-aged, your spouse’s voice is easier to hear, and easier to ignore. But the ability to ignore declines with age.

That seemingly odd finding makes sense to Canadian researchers at Queen’s University who put 23 married couples, ages 44 to 79, through 600 trials to explore how familiarity affects the human auditory system. But there’s kind of a quirky edge to the finding.

Middle-aged couples, 44 to 60, were able to turn off a spouse’s voice in favor of a voice they had never heard before.

Read the whole story: ABC News

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