How Your Ears Work

The hearing care professionals at Hearing Solutions, Inc would like to explain how the human ear works. We believe it’s essential that you understand the basics of how you hear as well as the importance of “good” hearing health.

How Does the Human Ear Work?

 

  • Sound is transmitted as “sound waves” which are gathered by the outer ear and sent down the ear canal all the way to the eardrum.

  • The sound waves cause the eardrum to vibrate, which causes the motion of the tiny bones in the middle ear.

  • The motion of the bones causes the fluid in the inner ear to move.

  • The movement of the fluid in the inner ear causes the hair cells in the cochlea to bend. The hair cells change the movement into electrical impulses.

  • These electrical impulses are transmitted to the auditory nerve and up to the brain, where they are interpreted as what we hear – sound.

 

The Anatomy of the Human Ear

The human ear consists of three “main parts” – the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear.

The Outer Ear

The visible part of the ears is called the pinna and it channels sound waves into the ear canal in order to amplify the sound. The sound waves then travel down the canal towards a flexible, oval membrane at the end called the eardrum. This membrane begins to vibrate once the sound waves hit it.

The Middle Ear

These vibrations of the eardrum then set the ossicles, or bones within the middle ear, into motion. These are the three tiny bones (smallest in the human body) in the middle ear: Malleus (hammer), Incus (anvil) and Stapes (stirrup) and their job is to further amplify the sound. The stapes attaches to the oval window that connects the middle ear to the inner ear. The Eustachian tube, which opens into the middle ear, is responsible for equalizing the pressure between the air outside the ear to that within the middle ear.

The Inner Ear

The sound waves travel next into the inner ear and into a spiral shaped organ called the cochlea. This organ is filled with a fluid that moves in response to the vibrations, and as a result, thousands of nerve endings are then set into motion. These nerve endings transform the vibrations into electrical impulses that then travel along the auditory nerve to the brain. The brain then interprets these signals and this is how we hear. The inner ear also contains the vestibular organ that is responsible for balance.

The “Unwanted Effects” of Hearing Loss

The three main functions of hearing are communication & socialization, safety & alertness, and connecting to our environments – whatever they may be. With hearing loss, it can be very difficult to communicate with family and friends or to hear sounds that may indicate danger. On top of that, you will miss out on the beautiful sounds of the world (music, nature, etc.) That’s why it is very important to maintain “good” hearing health and if necessary, to get your hearing loss treated by a certified professional.

Studies have shown that untreated hearing loss can result in:

  • Challenges in relationships with friends and family
  • Tendency toward social isolation
  • Insecurity, stress and depression
  • Increased risk to personal safety
  • Impaired memory
  • Reduced job performance and earning power
  • Diminished psychological and overall health

The good news is that hearing loss treatment is shown to improve:

  • Earning power
  • Intimacy and warmth in family relationships
  • Emotional stability
  • Perception of mental function
  • Ease in communication
  • Sense of control over life events
  • Physical health

Stop waiting and get your hearing tested today!

If you think you may have hearing loss, get your hearing assessed by the experienced hearing care professionals at Hearing Solutions, Inc. We have 3 convenient locations in North-Central Florida. Contact us today and schedule an appointment.

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