How Your Ear Works
"Of course, hearing is also one of our senses!" A most familiar remark when trying to list the five senses, but getting stuck after only four: sight, smell, taste, touch, and ...? Hearing - a sense often taken for granted.
The outer ear collects sound waves and funnels these through the ear canal towards the eardrum.
Struck by sound waves, the eardrum begins to vibrate; consequently, the vibration triggers the rapid movement of three tiny bones (the ossicular chain) within the middle ear. Through this process sound is intensified before reaching the inner ear through the oval window (a membrane).
Sound waves passing through the oval window initiate a wave-like movement of fluid within the cochlea. As a result, thousands of sensory hair cells are activated and, in turn, electric signals are generated. Via the acoustic nerve, the signals travel to the brain, where they are recognized as sounds.
Source: Bernafon Canada Ltd.