Ears for Hearing and Balance ~ Kwentology

Image of Parts of the Ear by MedicineNetThe ear canal carries sound waves to the eardrum. The eardrum vibrates, and passes vibrations on to the bones in the middle ear.

How Do We Hear Sounds?

Sound is waves of energy that carried as vibrations through air, liquid, and solid objects.

Sound reaches your ears as vibrations in the air. The vibrations travel down the ear canal to the eardrum, which then vibrate too. These three small bones make the vibrations bigger and pass them through to the fluid in the inner ear. The cochlea in the inner ear is coiled like a snail shell. As nerve endings in the lining of cochlea detect vibrations in the fluid inside it, they send electrical signals to the brain.

Two ears help us to detect which direction of sounds are coming from.

Image of Ballet Dancer Balletic Photo Blossy by nzz1A spinning dancer stops herself getting dizzy by turning her head quickly and keeping her eyes on a fixed point.

Ears Keeping Us Stand Still

If we spin around and around and then stop, we get dizzy, the world seems to carry on spinning. This is because the fluid in the semicircular canals of the ears is still moving as though you were spinning.

Three curved tubes in inner ear help us to balance. They are filled with fluid and are semicircular canals. They are arranged at right angles to each other (like three sides of a box) so that as you move, the fluid inside them moves too. Nerves in the lining of the tubes detect changes in the fluid and send the information to the brain.

Where Does The Eustachian Tube Go?

This tube joins the middle ear to the empty spaces behind your upper throat. If mucus from a cold fills the tube, it stops you hearing as well as usual.

What is Earwax

Yellow-brown earwax is made by glands in the skin lining the ear canal. It traps dirt and germs and is slowly pushed out of the ear.

Factoid About Whispers

A whisper is between 10 and 20 decibels. Some animals can detect much quieter sounds than human could.

Image of Air Bus By HSB-CartoonA jet lifts off the runway. The noise near a jet aircraft just can be as much as 120 decibels.

Ears and Its Limitation

The loudness of a sound is measured in decibels. The sound of a pin dropping is less than 10 decibels, and the hum of a refrigerator is about 35 decibels. A loud personal stereo makes about 80 decibels.

If you are flying in an aircraft and it changes height quickly, you may go a bit deaf, because the air inside and outside the eardrum is at different pressures. Your ears "pop" when the pressures become equal again.

Loud noise is dangerous. Any noise over about 120 decibels can damage your hearing immediately. If you constantly listen to sounds of 90 decibels or more, they can damage your hearing too.
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