Researchers have discovered that the shape of a person’s ear may alter how they are able to perceive whether a sound is emanating from above, below, sideways or behind. This may be the reason why we cup our ear in hopes of hearing something more clearly. By placing pieces of silicone in different parts of the ear, it was noted that perception changed dramatically. After a period of time the brain did adjust and so did the ability to pinpoint direction. Although the inner ear does most of the work of transporting signals to the brain, these outer appendages (pinnae) are what act as huge funnels to collect and amplify sound. They enable us to focus in on a particular sound while eliminating background noise. Maybe it is time to remove the headphones and take advantage of our unique gift of hearing.