How Do You Hear?
Your ear is a very complex mechanism that turns vibrations into electrical signals, which your brain interprets as sound.
The process begins when sound waves travel through the air and into your ear canal. Your ear canal, in turn, funnels the sound waves down to your eardrum, which vibrates like the cone of a stereo speaker when the sound waves wash over it.
Then, three small bones, the hammer, anvil and stirrup, transfer the vibrations to your inner ear and into your cochlea, which is shaped like a snail’s shell. The liquid inside your cochlea’s spiralling tubes vibrates and causes groups of microscopic hairs to wave back and forth.
Each group of hairs detects different wavelengths, or pitches, of sound, which allows you to differentiate between the high pitches of guitar notes and the rumbling sound of a bass guitar. And when the hairs bend to one pitch or another, they create a chemical reaction that sends electrical signals down the auditory nerve and into your brain.
And this opens up your vibrant world of music, conversation and laughter.