The hearing system
Our ears allow us to navigate through the amazing journey of communication. The ear is also an extremely complex mechanism that must be understood thoroughly to treat hearing problems in the most appropriate way.
Our hearing system has three main components:
- The outer ear: The pinna captures sound waves from the air and sends them to the tympanic membrane (eardrum) in the middle ear.
- The middle ear: It acts as an amplifier. The tympanic membrane vibrates like a drum, which moves the ossicles (malleus, incus and stapes)—the smallest bones in the human body.
- The inner ear: The cochlea translates the vibrations in the middle ear into nerve messages that the brain interprets as sounds.
hearing system’s functions
The knowledge, recognition and analysis of sounds depend on how well the auditory system works.
The hearing system accomplishes two functions. The first is to hear, which means that the ear captures different intensities of sounds, either weak or strong. This action is carried out by both the outer and middle ear.
The second function is to understand or the ability to discriminate and distinguish the information received. This function is carried out by the inner ear, which carries the information to the auditory area of the brain. At that moment, the brain analyses the information and the person’s ability to understand then depends on his or her background knowledge.