There are three main parts to the ear that allow us to hear the noises we do: The outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. Here are the roles of each part of the ear.
The Outer Ear
The outer ear is the part of the ear that you can see. The outer ear provides more than just decoration – it also collects sounds.
The Middle Ear
Once the sound waves reach the middle ear, it is the middle ear’s job to convert them into vibrations to send to the inner ear. This is accomplished through the eardrum, which is an aptly named thin piece of skin stretched tight like a drum. The sound waves vibrate the eardrum and move the sound to three tiny bones in the ear: the hammer, the anvil, and then the stirrup.
The Inner Ear
These vibrations eventually make it to the inner ear, home of the cochlea. The cochlea is a small, curled tube filled with liquid that moves like a wave when the vibrations come. It is also covered in microscopic hairs, without which we wouldn’t be able to hear. When the vibrations reach the cochlea, they cause the tiny hairs to move, which creates nerve signals to the brain. The brain interprets those nerve signals as sound.
Hearing: The Delicate Balance
Human EarThe ear has to communicate a lot of signals through several parts before sound can be properly understood. The process of hearing involves the functioning of many tiny parts. If even one of those parts becomes damaged in any way, it can throw off our ability to hear, or even operate, in very big and inconvenient ways. Tinnitus and vertigo are just two of many debilitating conditions that can result from damage to the ears. One of the greatest threats to our hearing mechanisms is noise pollution. This is especially true of persistent and loud noise pollution as it can cause permanent damage to our hearing.
Visit the Sound Fighter website to learn more about how to protect your ears from dangerously loud noises that could damage your hearing!