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The ear's ability to capture sound

To fully understand what hearing loss is, and what effect it has, an understanding of the physical make-up of the ear, how it works and not least how it captures sound, is essential.

The ear's ability to capture sound

The ear is a magnificent organ

The ear is divided into three different parts: The outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. Sound waves travel from the outer ear and in through the auditory canal, causing the eardrum to vibrate. This in turn causes three small bones in the middle ear to move.

The vibrations move through the fluid in the cochlea in the inner ear, stimulating thousands of tiny hair cells. This results in the transformation of the vibrations into electrical impulses, which are finally perceived by the brain as sound.

Sound are like waves

When a stone hits water, ripples spread out from that point in circles. In exactly the same way, a sound source creates waves or pressure variations in the air. These pressure variations are perceived by the ear as sound. Sound levels are measured in decibels (dB).

Further information

In this section we have collected a range of articles which inform you about the ear's physical make-up, what sound is and how it is captured by the ear. You will also find sound files about hearing loss in this section.

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You are very welcome to quote or use our articles. The only condition is that you provide a direct link to the specific article you use on the page where you quote us.

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