How hearing works

How hearing works

When we become aware of a sound in our environment, it's the result of a remarkable sequence of events.

Outer Ear

Sound travels through the pinna (external ear) and down the ear canal, striking the eardrum and causing it to vibrate.

Middle Ear

Vibrations from the eardrum cause the ossicles to vibrate (the three smallest bones in the human body) which, in turn, creates movement of the tiny hair cells (stereocilia) in the inner ear.

Inner Ear

The movement of the hair cells sends electrical impulses through the auditory nerve to the hearing center of the brain, which translates them to sounds the brain can recognize.