Understand your ear

How Do You Hear?

Hearing starts with the outer ear. When a sound is made, the sound waves, which are just vibrations in the air around us, travel along the ear canal (external auditory canal) and vibrates the eardrum (tympanic membrane). If working properly, the eardrum can detect even the faintest sounds.

The vibrations are then amplified and sent to the inner ear and into the fluid-filled hearing organ, called the cochlea, which instantaneously sends the signal along the auditory nerve. The auditory nerve sends these impulses to hearing centres of the brain, the auditory cortex. This is where the streams of nerve impulses are converted into meaningful sound.

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How Hearing Happens


The auricle (pinna) is the visible portion of the outer ear. It collects sound waves and channels them into the ear canal (external auditory canal), where the sound is amplified.

Tympanic membrane is also called the eardrum. It separates the outer ear from the middle ear. When sound waves reach the tympanic membrane, they cause it to vibrate.


External Auditory Canal is a passageway that leads from outside of the head to the eardrum. The canal is approximately 2.5 cm in length and functions to transmit sound from the pinna to the eardrum.


Semicircular canals are three tiny, fluid-filled tubes in your inner that are part of the vestibular system in the inner ear. The vestibular system is responsible for your sense of balance and equilibrium.


Cochlea comes from the Greek word for ‘snail’ because of its distinctive coiled shape. The cochlea, which contains many thousands of sensory cells (called ‘hair cells’), is connected to the central hearing system by the auditory nerve. The cochlea is filled with special fluids which are important to the process of hearing.


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Auditory Ossicles consist of stapes, malleus and incus and are the tiniest bones in your body. They transmit sound via a chain reaction of vibrations that connect the eardrum to the inner ear and the cochlea.

Vestibular nerve relays information about body position and acceleration to the brain.



What could go wrong?

Hearing loss can occur at any age. Although advancing age or exposure to loud noise are the most common causes of hearing loss, an infection, injury or genetic issues can be among the reasons for hearing loss.