When your hearing is working normally, information is being passed through each section of the ear to your brain. Your brain receives these messages and you will naturally respond.
Our ear is responsible for hearing and balance. Thanks to its mechanism it makes us receive the sound waves transforming them into proper sounds that would make sense to us.
There are three parts of the ear anatomy, the outer ear, the middle ear and the cochlea.
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Sound travels in waves through a narrow passageway called the ear canal to the ear drum. The outer ear (pinna) ‘catch’ sound waves and direct them through the ear canal to the protected middle ear. These incoming sound waves cause the ear drum to vibrate. This is where the process of understanding these sound waves begins.
Through these vibrations, imagine the skin on a musical drum vibrating when you strike it, causes the ossicles, a tiny chain of bones (malleus, incus, stapes) move in the middle ear.
The middle ear is connected to the back of the nose and throat by the Eustachian tube. This means that when one yawns or swallows, the Eustachian tube can open to equalise the pressure on both sides the eardrum and prevent the membrane from being damaged.
When you get a cold/flu the Eustachian tube can become blocked with mucus which can cause a build-up of pressure and temporary hearing impairment or loss as a result.
The last bone in this process taps on the membrane window of the spiral-shaped cochlea, which encourages the fluids in the cochlea to move and in doing so stimulate tiny hair cells on the inner wall of the cochlea. There are over 15,000 of hair cells and stimulating theses to move triggers electrical nerve impulses that are taken to the brain via the auditory nerve. From here, it's up to their brain to decipher those impulses as recognisable sounds.
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