HOW DOES THE EAR WORK?
The ear has three main parts: the outer, middle and inner ear. The outer ear
(the part you can see) opens into the ear canal. The eardrum separates the ear
canal from the middle ear. Small bones in the middle ear help transfer sound to
the inner ear. The inner ear contains the auditory (hearing) nerve, which leads
to the brain.
Any source of sound sends vibrations or sound waves into the air. These
funnel through the ear opening, down the ear, canal, and strike your eardrum,
causing it to vibrate. The vibrations are passed to the small bones of the
middle ear, which transmit them to the hearing nerve in the inner ear. Here, the
vibrations become nerve impulses and go directly to the brain, which interprets
the impulses as sound (music, voice, a car horn, etc.).
Anatomy of the Ear
© 2006 AAO-HNS/AAO-HNSF