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How we hear

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Our ear is made up of three separate sections – the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear.

ear-cross-section

The outer ear consists of the Pinna and Ear Canal.  Sound vibrations enter the ear canal and travel down towards the eardrum.  When the sound reaches the eardrum it causes it to move back and forth and this in turn causes the three small bones in the middle ear to vibrate.  These vibrations are then passed on to the inner ear.  Fluid in the inner ear moves in response to this vibration, causing tiny hair cells in the inner ear to move.  These hair cells are connected to the hearing nerve and this movement sends a hearing signal to the brain.

Hearing loss can occur in each of the parts of the hearing system described above.

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