The ear is a complex organ with three parts, the:

  • outer ear which captures and funnels sound to the ear drum,
  • middle ear which has three tiny bones that vibrate, conveying the sound to the cochlea, and
  • inner ear or cochlea that contains fluid and nerve cells that are stimulated by the vibrations from the middle ear

The stimulated nerve cells in the cochlea then send signals to the brain and it is actually the brain that “hears” as it is in the brain that these perceived vibrations created by the sound are interpreted and understood.

What we know as deafness results from difficulties in:

  • the middle ear, when the three bones do not fully vibrate,
  • the inner ear, because the nerve cells – of which there are over 30,000 – are either damaged or missing or both,
  • the brain, where the portion of the brain responsible for interpreting sound is damaged in some way, or
  • potentially in more than one of these – e.g. the middle and inner ear; the middle ear and the brain; or the inner ear and the brain

If you wish to know and understand more about the ear and its function, we recommend that you do a Google search and/or visit the two reference sites listed below.

 

 

References:

http://www.earscience.org.au/Hearing-Discovery-Centre/How-do-we-hear.aspx

http://www.sandiegohearing.com/hearing-loss/how-hearing-works/