Ear and hearing
The ear is a fascinating organ
To understand why hearing loss occurs, we need first to explain how ear and hearing work. The ear is a fascinating organ that is capable of recognizing sounds from barely audible to very loud, and it allows us to determine the direction of the sound source accurately. Ear and hearing not only enable us to hear but also protect us from dangers in daily life, traffic, street, etc.
How do ear and hearing work
The hearing process begins when ear picks up a sound and transforms it into electrical impulses that travel to the brain by neurons. The brain then interprets them as meaningful information for you such as speech, music, noise, etc. This process takes less than 50 milliseconds. Binaural hearing or hearing with both ears allows us to determine from which direction the sound comes.
The ear consists of three parts: the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear, and each section play its role in transforming the sound waves into neuronal stimuli.
Hearing loss can occur for numerous reasons, most of which are due to damage to the inner ear.
The outer ear consists of the pinna, ear canal, and eardrum. Pinna is the visible part of the outer ear and the place where many people love to wear earrings. The ear canal is a part of the outer ear that ends with the eardrum. The function of the outer ear is to capture the sound waves and send them through the ear canal to eardrum to vibrate.
The middle ear lays between the outer ear and the inner ear and consists of three parts. At the beginning of middle ear is eardrum that serves as a membrane, next are ossicles (also called the hammer, anvil, and stirrup), and the Eustachian tube. Role if Eustachian tube is to equalize the pressure in the middle ear. Ossicles when vibrating together magnify the vibration from the eardrum and transmit them to the inner ear.
The inner ear is the place where vibrations convert into electrical impulses. Neurons transmit these impulses to the brain which interprets them. The central part of the inner ear is a Cochlea that is fluid-filled, and thousands of tiny nerve fibers connect to it. The inner ear also helps maintain balance.