How Hearing Loss Works
Normal Ear Function
Hearing is an important sense to your everyday life. From alarms to important conversations throughout the day, our sense of hearing is important to communicating information. The way the auditory system works is incredibly complex and requires a number of functions to work properly, including:
- Sound is transmitted through the air as sound waves from the environment. The sound waves are gathered by the outer ear and sent down the ear canal to the eardrum.
- The sound waves cause the eardrum to vibrate, which sets the three tiny bones in the middle ear into motion.
- The motion of the three bones causes the fluid in the inner ear, or cochlea, to move.
- The movement of the fluid in the inner ear causes the hair cells in the cochlea to bend. The hair cells change the movement into electrical impulses.
- These electrical impulses are transmitted to the hearing (auditory) nerve and up to the brain, where they are interpreted as sound.