How The Ear Works

Often an afterthought, the ear is a complex and robust system. Sound is transformed from pressure waves into mechanical energy that our brain processes as sound. This is accomplished as sound waves enter the ear canal causing the ear drum to vibrate where the inner ear nerves pick up sound and deliver it to your brain. The ear is broken down into three sections: Outer Ear, Middle Ear and Inner Ear.

The Outer Ear funnels sound from your surroundings. The outer ear includes the pinna which is the visible part of the ear, the ear canal which ends at the ear drum. The pinna acts to focus sound waves through the ear canal toward the eardrum.

The Middle Ear consists of a small air-filled chamber located next to the eardrum. In the chamber you will find the three smallest bones in the body known as the ossicles. These bones aid in the transmission of vibrations from the eardrum to the inner ear.

The Inner Ear consists of the cochlea, the main organ where the nerves pick up sound for delivery to the brain. The inner ear contains a fluid filled bony labyrinth which includes thousands of tiny hair cells. These cells detect the pitch of the pressure waves and convert them into electrical impulses for the brain to receive and interpret.

1. The Outer Hear      2. The Ear Canal      3. The Middle Ear      4. The Inner Ear