Communication is imperative to navigating daily life. With 3 main components of the ear, we outline how each part contributes to how sounds are received and sent.
The Outer Ear
From the middle ear to the outer ear, sound travels from the outside and is sent to the middle ear. The two components of the outer ear are the ear canal and pinna; The pinna is the soft and flexible (and most visible) portion of the ear that assists the brain in detecting which direction sound is directed into the ear. Whereas the ear canal is best known as the physical sound path that travels through the ears.
- The Middle Ear
The tympanic membrane (also known as the eardrum) is where the hearing process begins as it reacts to soundwave pressure. As the vibrations from sound reach a certain threshold, damage and discomfort can occur. Another part of this process includes three small bones called ossicles, that are directly connected to the eardrum and help handle and react to the sound vibrations. Known as the stapes, the last three bones in this area portray a shape similar to that of a stirrup.
- The Inner Ear
Inner ear infections can be so difficult, often due to the hearing balance that is attributed to the reliability of the inner ear. There are several organs within the inner ear that convert normal sounds and vibrations into nerve signals. Hair cells that are well placed in the area react to the signals and then carry them to the correct organ. Essentially, the sound moves through several relay stations until it reaches its intended destination. The final target is the brain; When the auditory cortex receives the information, sound is interpreted in a way the brain understands.
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