Do You Know How the Ears Work?
Ears are small and highly important parts of our bodies. They not only allow us to hear but also help us keep ourselves balanced. Without them, we would be deaf and have trouble keeping ourselves straight. A pretty big deal, right?
But what is inside an ear? How do the ears work? What are the different parts of the auditory system and what is each part responsible for?
Ears have three sections: the outer, middle and inner ear.
- The outer ear is where the ear canal, eardrum and pinna are located
- The middle ear houses the ossicles and eardrum
- The inner ear consists of the cochlea, the auditory hearing nerve and the brain
These three sections work together so we can hear well. The outer ear is where the earwax is produced. Earwax is the waxy substance that protects the ear canal from anything that could potentially get in. This part of the ear is visible. It collects surrounding sounds and sends the sounds deep into the ear.
How do we hear?
From the outer ear, the sound waves enter into the middle ear. It is the middle ear’s job to take the sound waves and transform them into vibrations. This is where the eardrum comes in. The eardrum vibrates once the middle ear turns the sound waves into vibrations, moving the ossicles. This allows for the sound to make its way into the inner ear. The cochlea in the inner ear takes the sound and creates nerve signals that your brain can understand. This is possible because the cochlea is filled with tiny hairs that, when moved, create nerve signals.
What happens when you lose your hearing?
Hearing problems are caused when one or more sections of your ear are not responding the way they’re supposed to. The part of the brain that controls hearing and the nerves around the ears can also be the reason for the loss of hearing. Hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors such as an infection, a disease, an injury, or old age.
The inside of the ear has little hair cells (in the cochlea). These cells are a reason we can hear easily. They send sound waves to the brain. Surprisingly, hair cells cannot ever be replaced once they are damaged. If this happens, it is very likely that you will experience a loss of hearing. However, hearing aids and surgery are the two options you have to improve your hearing. The type of hearing aid you choose depends partially on preference and on the severity of the hearing loss you are experiencing.
It is always a good idea to see your hearing care provider if you have any questions or concerns about the health of your ears. In addition, you would not want to harm your ears. Therefore, it is better to be safe than sorry and always consult a hearing professional if you experience any trouble with your hearing.