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Useful articles from RITM

How Hearing Works
How Hearing Works

Our perception of the world is based on five senses, all equally essential. Every day, we are exposed to different sounds like the splashes of the sea or the birds’ singing, and one cannot know the beauty of the world and enjoy it in full without hearing these sounds.

There are many creatures that do not have a sense of sight or smell, but they all organs of auditory perception in some form.

In the underwater world hearing is vital, because sound – ultrasound - is a means of communication for marine mammals and it also helps in orientation when they travel long distances. The perception of sound distortions allows animals (not in the sea only) to hunt for food or hide in case of danger.

For human beings sound perception is not that meaningful, although life in absolute silence cannot be full. Thus, a deaf person cannot enjoy a piece of music or live conversation.

Auditory systems are different with various fauna species. For humans it starts with the outer ear which is adapted for sound perception and transmission to the next element – the middle ear. Sound waves go through the ear canal towards the eardrum, where they are converted into vibrations.

The main part of the middle ear is ossicles, which include three little bones called hammer, anvil and stirrup. Their function is to transmit the vibrations from the outer ear to the inner ear and amplify the sounds simultaneously. All the three elements work very closely with each other and the eardrum.

The most complex in terms of its construction is the inner ear. This is where the main sound wave “transducer” is. Its form recalls that of a snail. The received vibrations affect the liquid in the snail. It irritates the receptors that form neural impulses which are finally processed in the brain.

Due to this complex structure we are able to enjoy the diversity of sounds.

There are contraindications, it is necessary to consult a specialist