How we Hear

Our ears are among the body's most complex organs.  They receive and transmit sound waves to the brain where they are analyzed and interpreted.

But how does our hearing actually work? 

The video shows how sound waves travel through the ear from the outer ear, through the middle ear to the inner ear.

Stage 1 - The Outer Ear

The outer ear collects sound waves and directs them into the ear canal.  Here they are amplified by the canal's funnel-like shape and channeled on to the eardrum.

Stage 2 - The Middle Ear

On reaching the eardrum, the sound waves cause the eardrum to vibrate, transmitting the sound to three tiny bones located in the middle ear.
These bones are commonly referred to as the hammer, anvil, and stirrup and they connect the eardrum to a membrane betweeen the middle and inner ear, knowns as the "oval window".
The movement of the oval window transmits the pressure waves of sound into the inner ear.

Stage 3 - The Inner Ear

The inner ear is fluid-filled and consists of the spiral-shaped "cochlea".
The passageways of the cochlea are lines with about 20,000 microscopic hair cells that convert sound vibrations into nerve impulses.  These impulses are then sent to the brain which interprets the impulses as meaningful sounds.