Sound waves are the vibrations carried through the air. The process in which our brains interpret those vibrations to sound can be divided into three measures: collecting the vibrations, converting those vibrations into mechanical energy, and relaying each as an electrical impulse to be interpreted as sound by the brain.
Outer Ear collecting of vibrations occurs, they are funneled into the ear via the auricle and through the external auditory canal to the tympanic membrane (eardrum) where the vibrations are then converted into mechanical energy.
Middle Ear converting those vibrations into mechanical energy, the tympanic membrane is attached to the first in a chain of three small bones (malleus, incus, and stapes) known as the ossicular chain. The three bones propel one another sequentially, ultimately striking the oval window.
Inner Ear mechanical energy are then relayed as electrical impulses, primary component of the inner ear in the process of interpreting sound is the cochlea, a coiled chamber of fluid. The cochlea’s oval window is the membranous barrier between the middle and inner ear. When the last bone in the middle ear strikes the oval window, the resonance is carried through fluid called perilymph. The bottom layer of the cochlea is carpeted by a layer of microscopic hair cells, each stimulated by specific frequencies, or pitches, of sound waves/vibrations. Once stimulated by the movement of the perilymph fluid, they relay that information to the brain via the auditory nerve to be interpreted in the brain as sound.
Causes of Hearing Loss are
Advanced age (Presbycusis)
Physiological congenital defects
Prolonged exposure to loud noises
Ototoxic medications (i.e. aspirin, certain antibiotics, and chemotherapy)
Tumors of the inner ear and cochlear nerve (acoustic neuroma)
As we celebrate march 3rd as world hearing day, with the theme of “To hear for life, listen with care”! let us strife to have protect our ears from damage and prevent hearing loss.
For further details of understanding the world of hearing, mechanism of hearing, prevention and protecting the ears form the hearing loss or if you are already suffering from any of the above mentioned causes do contact the team Bangalore Hearing and Implant Institute, expertise in the field hearing.