Understanding How We Hear
The first step to understanding hearing loss and treatment options is to understand how hearing works.
Connect Hearing will explain the parts of the ear, their functions and what factors can affect hearing and cause hearing loss.
The human ears are incredible instruments. All of our senses involve chemical reactions except our hearing. Hearing is a mechanical response with various parts of the ear working together to make hearing possible, much like a clock’s moving parts enable it to chime on the hour. As such, any alteration to the ‘mechanism’ will impair one’s quality of hearing.
Sound travels through airwaves to your outer ear (pinna) and is funneled into the ear canal where it strikes the eardrum causing it to vibrate.
The vibrating motion of the ear drum moves the three bones of the middle ear - the malleus (“hammer”), incus (“anvil”), and stapes (“stirrup”).
Together with the ear drum, these three bones intensify the sound waves and deliver this energy to the inner ear fluids.
- The fluid waves produced by the sound waves cause the tiny hair cells within the auditory portion of the inner ear (cochlea) to send neural signals to the brain for interpretation.
Now that we've covered how hearing works, let's talk about common signs of hearing loss.