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Hearing – How We Hear Sound
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  1. Hearing – How We Hear Sound

  2. Introduction • Ears are sense organs that respond to sound. • Your ear converts sound waves into nerve impulses that your brain interprets. • The ear’s structure is designed to receive and transmit the sound waves.

  3. Parts of the Ear • The OUTER EAR • Contains the pinna, ear canal and eardrum • The MIDDLE EAR • Contains 3 bones: hammer, anvil and stirrup • The INNER EAR • Contains the cochlea and auditory nerve

  4. Parts of the Ear

  5. The Outer Ear • The pinna is specially shaped to gather and focus sound waves and direct them into the ear. • The ear canal is a hollow tube that carries the sound waves to the eardrum. • The sound wave hits the ear drum, causing it to vibrate. The eardrum transmits these vibrations into the inner ear where they are amplified.

  6. Eardrum

  7. The Middle Ear • The middle ear has the smallest bones in the body: the hammer, anvil and stirrup. • Their job is to amplify the vibrations of the eardrum and transmit it into the inner ear. • The stirrup “taps” on the inner ear at a spot called the oval window.

  8. The Inner Ear • The inner ear has the cochlea which is a snail-shaped tube that is lined with receptors that respond to sound. • The receptors are tiny hair cells that shake back and forth in response to sound waves. • When they shake, the hair cells create nerve impulses which go to the brain along the auditory nerve.

  9. The cochlea and the hair cells

  10. Analogy for inside the cochlea A blowing wheat field

  11. High vs. Low Sounds • Higher pitch sounds carry more energy and travel further into the cochlea. • Lower pitch sounds carry less energy and don’t travel as far into the cochlea. • http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/9834092339/student_view0/chapter45/effect_of_sound_waves_on_cochlear_structures.html

  12. The Auditory Nerve • The cochlea sends electrical signals to the brain through the auditory nerve, where the brain translates these signal into sound. • Any interruption of this process can be a cause for deafness.

  13. How It All Works

  14. The Main Ideas • The ear is divided into 3 sections: the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. • At the outer ear, sound waves are focused by the pinna down the ear canal to the eardrum. • The sound waves make the eardrum vibrate. • The vibrations are amplified by the 3 middle ear bones: the hammer, anvil and stirrup. • The stirrup transfers the vibrations to the cochlea within the inner ear. • The vibrations activate the hair cells inside the cochlea, which send electrical signals to the brain along the auditory nerve. • The brain interprets these signals as sound.