How we hear

Before we can understand how we lose our hearing, let’s first understand how we are able to hear in the first place:

ear diagram showing how we hear
  • 1. Hearing begins when sound waves enter the outer ear (the visible portion of the ear) and move down the ear canal.
  • 2. At the end of the canal lies the eardrum. When sound waves hit the eardrum, a chain reaction of vibrations between various parts of the middle ear are eventually transmitted to the inner ear.
  • 3. The inner ear houses the cochlea (the snail shaped hearing organ) and the hearing nerve. The sound vibrations reach the cochlea, which is filled with thousands of tiny hair cells.
  • 4. These hair cells change the vibrations into electrical signals that are sent by the hearing nerve to the brain.
  • 5. The brain processes and interprets those signals into meaning, allowing us to understand speech and hear the sounds around us.

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