How We Hear

DR GEORGE reminds us that Hearing is the most important of all our five senses as it allows us to communicate with our surroundings

ANATOMY OF THE EAR

OUTER EAR

The external part of the ear (pinna) and the ear canal (external auditory canal) collect sound and direct it inward.  

MIDDLE EAR

The eardrum (tympanic membrane) and the three small bones (ossicles) convert incoming sound into vibrations.

INNER EAR

The fluid-filled inner ear (cochlea) contains highly sensitive hair cells that move in response to vibrations. The auditory nerve transmits sound information from the hair cells to the hearing center of the brain.

HOW WE HEAR   

The human ear is an intricate and delicately balanced structure of the body with which we are able to detect, differentiate, filter and identify sounds. When something makes a noise it sends sound waves through the air. 

Your hearing starts when your outer ear channels these sound waves down its auditory canal into your middle ear where sound is amplified. Here the sound waves hit your eardrum making it vibrate and the vibrations are then transmitted into the inner ear. This is where the sound waves are converted into nerve impulses which travel to the hearing center in your brain due to the stimulation and movement of tiny hair-like nerve endings.  Your brain recognises and processes these nerve impulses and tells you what you are hearing.

DR GEORGE recommends watching this Educational Video if you want to learn more about the actual process of hearing

DID YOU KNOW 

1.  Ears also help you keep your balance:  There are three loops in your inner ear that are full of liquid which moves as you move your head.  This movement sends a message to your brain to tell it how your body is moving.  What causes a dizzy feeling is when the fluid in your ears spins round and confuses your brain.

2.  Children’s ears and hearing are more sensitive than adults allowing them to hear a greater variety of sounds.

3.  Which animal can hear 14 times better than humans? DOLPHIN

4.   Earache is caused by too much fluid putting pressure on your eardrums which often happens if you are suffering from an infection, allergy or virus.