Our ears are exceptionally complex organs. Not only do they allow us to “hear”, but they enable us to determine the direction, distance and source of the sound, interpret and understand changes in pitch and discern the difference between significant sounds and background noise. Most incredibly, all of this is done mechanically – there are no chemical reactions that take place.Checkout Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona for more info.
How does hearing work?
Our ears are made up of three parts, the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. The outer ear is the visible part of the ear and it is specially shaped, acting like a radar dish, to capture sound waves and vibrations and direct them through the ear canal.The sound waves are funnelled through the ear canal until they reach the ear drum. The ear drum resonates from the sound waves which move three small bones located in the middle ear, called the hammer, anvil and stirrup, collectively known as ossicles. This movement is then picked up by an organ known as the cochlea in the inner ear. The cochlea is filled with fluid, which “swishes” around as a result of the movement from the ossicles. The swishing of the fluid is detected by tiny hairs in the cochlea which then send nerve impulses to the auditory centre of the brain that interprets and prescribes significance to the sounds we hear.It’s a complex and seamlessly integrated system. However, if any part of that system is broken, your hearing can be affected. A ruptured eardrum can’t vibrate and a middle ear infection can limit the performance of the ossicles, while nerve damage can impact the cochlea’s functionality. Any single occurrence or combination of these can result in hearing loss.
How can hearing loss be treated?
Ear infections, a perforated ear drum can lead to temporary hearing loss which will subside with time, although some level of hearing loss may be irreversible. Other types of hearing impairments, such as sensorineural or nerve damage in the cochlea, are permanent. Hearing aids or hearing implants will be necessary to restore your ear’s functionality.