The auditory cortex is defined as “the part of the brain that process sensory information in the form of sound”. It has the important function of processing and understanding different sounds. This means that it identifies, classifies and gives meaning to the different sounds. If the auditory cortex does not function properly or is damaged, reaction to sound becomes limited. The auditory cortex is located in the temporal lobe above the ears.
There are three parts to the auditory cortex which serve different purposes.
1.The primary auditory cortex – which deals with processing the differences in sound like the start, stop, location and change of a sound.
2.The peripheral auditory cortex or secondary auditory cortex deals with more complex sounds like the artistic rhythms in music.
3.The tertiary auditory cortex-which takes all the gathered and processed information and produces the outcome.
For humans to be able to react to, understand and define the different sounds, there are neurons in the auditory cortex which send the messages to the parts of the brain where sound is analyzed. Some neurons are activated when a sound begins. Others are activated when a sound ends. There are those neurons that are activated when there is a sound that changes in pitch. When these neurotransmitters play their part accordingly, sound is defined and understood without complications. The auditory cortex facilitates language recognition and understanding. The ability to process the different phonetics in different languages is facilitated by the auditory cortex.
Like any other part of the human anatomy, if there is any lesion or damage to any part of the auditory cortex, certain skills like speech recognition can be affected. Reaction to sound can fail, meaning that the affected individual becomes unresponsive. Science has documented various studies on the importance of the auditory cortex. Extensive studies are still being done by different scholars and neuropsychologists to try to better understand and explain the function of the auditory cortex. It is however understood that if the auditory cortex is impaired in any way, the human ability to process sound becomes inactive. Speech recognition fails and perception of the different sounds and their sources becomes corrupted and response to the different stimuli is deactivated
The importance of the auditory cortex is immeasurable. If this part of the human anatomy ceases to function or is damaged, communication becomes a problem. The simple joy of enjoying different sounds like those produced by music instruments ceases to be. The pleasure of holding a conversation becomes a hurdle that is too high to jump over. The individual as a whole becomes impaired because a crucial part of the anatomy has ceased to function properly.