How the ear works

The ear is a special organ. It converts vibrations in the air into sound. How exactly does that work?
The ear consists of three parts that work together so that we can hear sounds. The outer ear (the auricle), the middle ear and the inner ear receive vibrations and convert these into signals that the brain recognises as sound. If one of these parts is damaged, the ear is no longer able to function properly as a whole and you will not be able to hear as well or at all.
 
The ear
 

From vibration to sound

  1. Sounds are vibrations in the air. The auricles receives these vibrations and ensure that they enter the ear canal. Together they also amplify sound towards the eardrum. This forms the separation between the outer ear and the middle ear.
  2. If a vibration passes through the ear canal and ends up at the eardrum, three small bones (the ossicles) behind the eardrum start moving, which further amplifies the sound.
  3. The cochlea is found in the inner ear. The cochlea contains liquid that starts moving as a result of the vibration of the ossicles. As a result of this, the cilia in the cochlea also start moving in order to subsequently convert the vibrations into signals. These signals are then passed on via the acoustic nerve to the brain, where the sound is recognised.
Back to Top