The Ear and Hearing Process
The ear is the organ for hearing and balancing. Hearing is a complex process that involves many parts of the ear working together to convert sound waves into information that the brain understands and interprets as sounds.
The ear is divided into three (3) parts leading to the brain:
1. The outer ear: This consists of the ear canal and eardrum. Sound travels down the ear canal, striking the eardrum and causing it to move or vibrate.
2. The middle ear: This is s a space behind the eardrum that contains three small bones called the Ossicles. This chain of tiny bones is connected to the eardrum at one end to an opening of inner ear at the other end. Vibrations from the eardrum cause the ossicles to vibrate which in turn, creates movement of the fluid in the inner ear.
Movement of the fluid in the inner ear or cochlea causes changes in tiny structures called hair cells. This movement of the hair cells which then sends a selection signal from the inner up to the auditory nerve to the brain.
The brain then interprets these electrical signals as sound.