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Home / Medical Services / Audiology / How We Hear Sounds

How We Hear Sounds

Have you ever wondered how we hear sounds?

The human ear is comprised of three distinct components – the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. All three components work together to help you hear and process sounds.

Sound waves are picked up by the outer ear, comprised of the pinna & ear canal. The sound waves make contact with the eardrum, located at the base of the ear canal, causing the eardrum to vibrate. As the eardrum vibrates, it creates movement of the middle ear bones. These bones are the smallest bones in the human body and are named the malleus (or ‘hammer’), incus (or ‘anvil’), and stapes (or ‘stirrup’).

The vibrations are then passed along to the inner ear, which houses the cochlea . The snail-shaped cochlea is filled with liquid and lined with inner and outer cells that have thousands of tiny, delicate hairs on their surface. The sound vibrations cause the hair cells to move, creating electrical impulses that are sent to the auditory nerve. The auditory nerve brings the impulses to your brain, which decodes the impulses and allows you to hear.

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