Image Source: NIH Medical Arts
Hearing is a complex process where many fragile parts of the ear work together to relay signals to the brain. In a properly functioning ear, sound is captured by the outer ear and travels through the middle ear to the inner ear where hair cells detect the vibrations and convert them into neural signals passed along to the brain.
This video from the National Institute of Health explains the “Journey of Sound to the Brain”.
- Sound waves enter the ear canal, moving toward the eardrum.
- Vibrations caused by the sound waves on the eardrum also causes the malleus, incus, and stapes bones in the middle ear to vibrate.
- Tiny sensory hair cells within the cochlea capture the vibrations and transform them into electrical signals. Different sounds cause different types of vibration which dictates how we percieve the volume and tone of a sound.
- The auditory nerve carries the electrical signals to the brain where they are understood as sounds.
As with any mechanical process, damage to any of the components in this process will alter the success of the output, resulting in hearing loss. Knowing the diagnostics of what is working and what isn’t within your ear helps to address your hearing loss and improve your quality of life. If you are experiencing difficulty hearing, schedule an appointment to get your hearing tested today at SoundLogic.