Understanding how your ears work can help you
understand how your hearing loss occurs. Sound waves travel through
each part of the ear to the brain, which decodes and makes sense of
ear The middle
ear The inner ear
The outer ear
The outer part of the ear you can see is called the pinna, which
funnels sound waves into the ear canal. The ear canal is a short
tube that allows sounds to reach the eardrum, also called the
The middle ear
The middle ear is an air-filled chamber connected to the back of
the nose and throat by the Eustachian tube. This tube helps to
equalise pressure on both sides of the eardrum. It's usually
closed, but it opens when you swallow or yawn.
When sound reaches the eardrum, the eardrum sends vibrations
through three small bones called ossicles - the smallest bones in
the body. The ossicles amplify the vibrations from the eardrum and
send them to the inner ear.
The ossicles amplify the vibrations from the eardrum and send
them to the inner ear.
The inner ear
The cochlea, part of the inner ear, is filled with fluid and
contains more than 15,000 microscopic sensory cells that convert
sound vibration into nerve impulses. These impulses travel along
the auditory nerve to the brain, which interprets them as
meaningful sounds. The cochlea also connects with the vestibular
system, which helps us to balance.