The human ear is one of the most intricate, fascinating structures of the human body. Its efficient, ornate design is a wonder to behold. Whether or not you struggle with hearing loss, it is helpful and enlightening to know exactly how our hearing works. These are the parts of the ear and how it all fits together.
The Outer Ear
The outer ear is the part we see all the way to the eardrum. The outer ear includes the pinna, which leads inward to the ear canal. The shape of the ear helps us take in sound. Meanwhile, the ear canal has glands that produce earwax, which helps keep this portion of the ear clean and lubricated.
The Middle Ear
The middle ear includes the eardrum and the three tiny bones that take sound waves to the inner ear. The eardrum is a membrane protecting the outer ear from the middle and inner ear. The names of the three tiny bones, also called ossicles, are: malleus, incus, and stapes. Sound waves that enter the ear vibrate off of the ossicles and transfer to the inner ear.
Another part of the middle ear includes the Eustachian tube; there is one for each ear. This tube connects the ear to the back of the nose. The air pressure within these tubes helps with the sound transfer.
The Inner Ear
The inner ear contains the cochlea, the semicircular canals, and the vestibule. The cochlea is a snail-shaped organ filled with fluid. It also has tiny hairs along its inner walls. This is where sound transfers from the eardrum toward the auditory nerve. The semicircular canals contain crystals that control our sense of balance. The vestibule also assists with balance.
The Auditory Nerve
By the time the sound waves reach the auditory nerve, the connection between the ears and the brain, they have now become electrical signals. These signals travel up the nerve to the brain, which translates those signals into sound.
Trust the Experts at Clarity Audiology & Hearing Solutions
Need help with your hearing? Clarity Hearing can help. Clarity Audiology & Hearing Solutions is an independently owned and operated clinic that focuses on quality of care and personalized, friendly service to the surrounding areas of Ellicott City, Catonsville, Columbia. Our Doctors of Audiology are highly trained with advanced degrees and take the time to provide the personalized care and attention that you need and deserve. We provide advanced hearing aid options that are personally calibrated with cutting-edge digital technology to fit your hearing loss, your unique ear anatomy, and your individual listening needs.