Originally Posted by jkkyler
Yes but HOW they vibrate the eardrums is dependent upon the strength and direction of the sound waves as they strike the ear. There is no way for a speaker located in front of you to produce a sound located behind you. Different waves (sounds) striking the ear from different directions causes different stimulation. Also Doppler effect will allow the brain to determine if the sounds are getting closer or farther away.
Your ears are just the collection point but sounds eminate in a 360 radius and by placing speakers or speaker arrays all around you , one is better able to simulate or recreate these different sound fields.
You keep getting caught up with 2 ears and stereo - that doesn't matter. Somebody who is totally deaf in one ear would still benefit from surround sound as each ear individually determines WHERE a sound is coming from. By using two ears we get the expanded spatial simulation.
I do agree with some of what you have said though, speakers places all around you may be able to simulate the environment better because its more 'similar' to a real world environment. Maybe we have some special bone behind our ears that vibrate in a way that lets us know sound is behind us that you cannot simulate with headphones, maybe we dont, thats why i'm here, i want somebody to confirm any statement with some actual science. Yes a deaf person would still be able to localise souns with one ear, but only through room reverb, put them in an anechoic and they would be screwed.