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Process of Hearing

Before understanding any pathology associated to hearing, one must fully understand the anatomy and working of it. Let us therefore first understand how the process of hearing works:

•  Outer Ear
•  Middle Ear
•  Inner Ear

Outer Ear

The function of Outer Ear is to act as a funnel for sound waves from the environment thereby concentrating / funneling them from a relatively larger area i.e. the atmosphere into the ear canal. These waves then pass through the Tympanic Membrane or the ear drum making it to oscillate back & forth thereby passing the energy to the middle ear.

Middle Ear

Middle Ear is where we have three bones namely “Malleus”, Incus & Stapes. These bones are attached to the tympanic membrane on the outer side and inner ear on the other. Once the sound energy passes though the tympanic membrane, it gets converted to mechanical energy in the middle ear thereby making the bones to vibrate. Through this vibration, the mechanical energy gets passed on the Inner Ear.

Inner Ear

The Inner Ear contains “Cochlea” which is studded with hair cells and contains a thick viscous fluid. It is here that the mechanical energy gets converted to electro-magnetic impulses through the motion of the fluid. The cochlea is attached to the auditory nerve which has a function to carry these electro-magnetic nerve impulses to the brain where we understand this energy as sound.