How Does Hearing Work?

Hearing is an important sense to your everyday life.

From alarms to important conversations throughout the day, our sense of hearing is important when communicating information. The auditory system is incredibly complex and requires several functions to work properly in order to interpret sound.
ear anatomy
  • The Outer Ear

    Sound is transmitted through the air as sound waves from the environment. The sound waves are gathered by the outer ear and sent down the ear canal to the eardrum.

  • The Eardrum

    The sound waves cause the eardrum to vibrate, which sets the three tiny bones in the middle ear into motion.

  • The Inner Ear

    The motion of the three bones causes the fluid in the inner ear, or cochlea, to move.

  • The Hair Cells

    The movement of the fluid in the inner ear causes the hair cells in the cochlea to bend. The hair cells change the movement into electrical impulses.

  • The Auditory Nerve

    These electrical impulses are transmitted to the auditory nerve and up to the brain, where they are interpreted as sound.

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