Hearing & Hearing Loss
How does our ear work?
Your ears are amazing intricate instruments. And one of their most important roles is helping you hear what’s going on around you. So how do they do it?
Both ears collect acoustic signals from multiple directions. The complex structure of our ears then process this information and passes it to the brain for interpretation.
- Our outer ear collects the sound vibrations and funnels them through the ear canal to the eardrum.
- These sounds make your eardrum vibrate and passes soundwaves to the middle ear.
- The middle ear consists of three bones (the hammer, the anvil and the stirrup), one of which is the hardest and smallest bone in your body. The vibrations are then transmitted and amplified to the oval window of the inner ear.
- Fluid in the inner ear stimulates the hair cells. The outermost hair cells are responsible for the high frequencies, whilst the inner hair cells are responsible for the mid and low frequencies. When these hair cells are damaged it affects your ability to hear.
- Electrical impulses are then sent from the hair cells along the auditory nerve to the brain for interpretation.