How the Ear Works

The human ear receives and transmits sound waves to the brain where they are analysed and interpreted. The sound pathway takes us through the different parts of the ear.

How the Ear Works

How we hear.

The Outer Ear

Collects sound waves and directs them into the ear canal where they are amplified by its funnel-like shape and channeled on to the ear drum.

The Middle Ear

Is an air-filled chamber connected to the nasal and throat passages by the Eustachian tube, the purpose of which is to equalise the air pressure on both sides of the eardrum. The Eustachian tube is usually closed but is opened naturally when you swallow or yawn. On reaching the eardrum, the sound waves cause the eardrum to vibrate, transmitting the sound to the delicate bones in your ear called the ‘Ossicles’ or the malleus, incus and stapes. The ossicular chain mechanically connects the eardrum to the oval window of the inner ear (cochlea), to which transmits the pressure waves of the sound to the inner ear.

The Inner Ear

Is the fluid-filled spiral shaped cochlea, lined with 20,000 microscopic hair cells that convert sound vibrations into the nerve impulses which are then sent to the brain for further processing. These impulses are then interpreted as meaningful sounds.

Did you know that when the hair cells in the cochlea are damaged, the brain doesn’t receive all the sounds and frequencies it needs to make, for example speech understandable. A hearing instrument can however, greatly improve your hearing ability.