How the ear worksHow we hear is a fascinating subject!

The human ear is divided into three distinct sections or regions: the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear.

Anatomy

  • The outer ear includes the ear canal and eardrum.
  • The middle ear begins just behind the eardrum and consists of the three smallest bones of the human body known as the malleus, incus, and stapes. The three bones together are called the ossicles.
  • The inner ear contains the semicircular canals, cochlea, stereocilia (also known as hair cells contained in the cochlea) and the beginning of the auditory nerve.

How the parts of the ear all work together to translate sound.

  1. Sound travels down the air-filled ear canal and collides with the eardrum, causing it to vibrate.
  2. The vibration of the eardrum causes the ossicles of the air-filled middle ear to vibrate as well.
  3. This in turn, causes movement of the hair cells in the fluid-filled inner ear. The movement of the hair cells produce electrical signals which are sent through the auditory nerve to the brain.
  4. The brain then interprets these signals as sound.