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Hearing Blog

The Journey of Sound

By Julie Hubik July 14, 2017

We often take our hearing for granted until it is gone for good. You might wonder what it is really like to hear. It is helpful to take a look inside the inner workings of your ear to decipher the amazing journey made by sound signals. Your journey begins from your outer ear where sound signals are received.

Once sound signals travel into the ear canal they pass through the tympanic membrane. They move through the ossicular chain and travel through the cochlea to the auditory nerve. Your ear makes a suitable environment for sound signals by keeping the inner environment lubricated and temperature-controlled through the production of earwax. Your ear canal comprises of bone, cartilage, and glands which are flexible and allow sound to pass through them.

The eardrum contains the tympanic membrane and this portion of the ear vibrates when it comes in contact with sound. The membrane itself comprises of three thin layers of skin that are linked using three miniscule bones known as the malleus, the incus, and the stapes. These three bones that are linked to the membrane are known as the ossicular chain which vibrates to send sound signals from the middle ear towards the inner ear via an oval window.

The inner ear contains the cochlea which is a portion of the ear shaped like a snail. This part of the ear contains tiny hair follicles which vibrate when they come in contact with sound signals. After reaching this portion of the inner ear, the sound signals move towards the eighth cranial nerve which is also known as the auditory nerve which further sends the sound impulses to your brain. The brain finally interprets these sound impulses and sends back the interpreted sound signals, which is what results in recognizable sound as we know it.

People with hearing loss often obtain hearing aids to rectify their hearing impairment. It is important to realize that hearing aids do greatly improve one’s hearing problems, but cannot undo hearing loss entirely. It is therefore imperative to set realistic expectations when it comes to adjusting to your hearing experience using hearing aids.

Spend time with your audiologist discussing your doubts and concerns regarding any potential limitations that can occur due to hearing aid use. This can help you gain a solid information base that will help you remain mentally prepared and improve your level of satisfaction once you actually obtain your hearing aids.

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