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You hear so many sounds all the time, from your favorite song to the quiet background hum of your computer. But how, exactly, does your ear hear noises?
What does the outer ear do?
The outer ear includes the pinna – the part you can see – and the ear canal. The pinna catches sound waves and sends them down the ear canal to the middle ear.
What does the middle ear do?
Once the sound waves pass through the ear canal, they pass through the eardrum, which turns the waves into vibrations. The vibrations then move to the ossicles. The ossicles are three bones – the malleus, incus, and stapes, or hammer, anvil, and stirrup, respectively – that transmit the vibrations into the inner ear.
What does the inner ear do?
As the stapes vibrates, the fluids in the cochlea move. This stimulates tiny hairs which creates nerve signals. Those signals are sent along the auditory nerve to the brain, where they are translated into sounds you understand.
Why might I need hearing aids?
Over time, you can lose your hearing. The most common type of hearing loss is sensorineural hearing loss. As you age, or if you are exposed to loud noise, the tiny hairs in the inner ear become damaged. Signs include, but are not limited to, difficulty following conversations in noisy or crowded rooms, difficulty understanding quiet speech, ringing in your ears, and difficulty understanding what you hear on the telephone or television.
“Our hearing system is complex and, it is astonishing the impact it can have on your quality of life,” CEENTA Audiologist Ashley Cheese, AuD, said. “I love being able to make a difference in my patients’ lives with the amazing technology we have available today.”
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician. Dr. Cheese sees patients in our Concord office. To make an appointment with her or an audiologist at a doctor’s office near you, call 704-295-3000.
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