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Hearing can be measured by behavioral tests using an audiometer.Electrophysiological tests of hearing can provide accurate measurements of hearing thresholds even in unconscious subjects.
It is one of the traditional five senses; partial or total inability to hear is called hearing loss.
In humans and other vertebrates, hearing is performed primarily by the auditory system: mechanical waves, known as vibrations are detected by the ear and transduced into nerve impulses that are perceived by the brain (primarily in the temporal lobe).
Sound is believed to first become consciously experienced at the primary auditory cortex.
Around the primary auditory cortex lies Wernickes area, a cortical area involved in interpreting sounds that is necessary to understand spoken words.
Characteristic frequencies are high at the basal entrance to the cochlea, and low at the apex.