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Hearing

Hearing

To better understand the cause of your hearing loss, you must first understand how the ear is designed and the conditions that interfere with hearing.

Sound travels through the air as a sound wave.  Your ear turns the sound waves into information which your brain hears as sound. 


First, the sound waves are collected by the pinna (outer ear) and travel down the canal to the eardrum. The pressure of the sound waves on the eardrum causes the eardrum to vibrate. 


There are three ossicles (tiny bones) in the middle space, behind the eardrum.  When sounds vibrate the eardrum, the ossicles are set into motion causing the cochlea (fluid in the inner section) to move.  


The movement of fluid in the cochlea causes tiny hair cells to bend, sending electrical impulses through the auditory (hearing) nerve up to the brain where these electrical impulses are perceived as sound.

The ear schematics

  • The Outer Ear

    Consists of the visible part, called the pinna, and the canal.

    The pinna collects and funnels the sound down the canal to the tympanic membrane (eardrum).  

    The canal is made up of only a few layers of skin and small hairs.  

    It has small glands that produce cerumen (wax) to help lubricate and protect the skin in the canal.

  • The Middle Ear

    Consists of the visible part, called the pinna, and the canal.

    The pinna collects and funnels the sound down the canal to the tympanic membrane (eardrum).  

    The canal is made up of only a few layers of skin and small hairs.  

    It has small glands that produce cerumen (wax) to help lubricate and protect the skin in the canal.

  • The inner ear

    Consists of the visible part, called the pinna, and the canal.

    The pinna collects and funnels the sound down the canal to the tympanic membrane (eardrum).  

    The canal is made up of only a few layers of skin and small hairs.  

    It has small glands that produce cerumen (wax) to help lubricate and protect the skin in the canal.

Hearing Loss

Signs of hearing loss

Difficulty understanding people, especially in crowded places like restaurants
Need to have phrases repeated
High volume on the TV or stereo
Difficulty hearing on the phone
Difficulty following group conversations


Helping a loved one with hearing loss

 Catch his/her attention before speaking to make sure he/she looks at you
 Speak slowly and clearly
 Repeat what he/she doesn’t hear the first time using body language to show what you are saying
 Ask if he/she heard what you said