How Does the Ear Work? |

The ear is comprised of three parts: the outer, middle, and inner ear. Each part plays its own unique and vital role in hearing.

The outer ear includes the pinna, ear canal, and eardrum. Sound is channeled in to the middle ear via these structures. The design of the pinna, or outermost visible part of the ear, is to gather sound waves and direct them down the canal towards the eardrum.

The middle ear is comprised of the three smallest bones of the human body. When sound reaches the eardrum, the eardrum vibrates which in turn causes movement of the tiny bones in the middle ear, also known as ossicles. The sound is then mechanically transmitted through to the inner ear.

The inner ear converts the sound to an electrical impulse. The movement of the ossicles causes movement of inner ear fluid, stimulating hair cells (cilia) in the cochlea. This impulse then travels along the auditory nerve (8th nerve) to the brain.

A problem in any site along this transmission can result in hearing loss. Type of hearing loss is determined by which part of the ear is not functioning properly.