By printing and/or reading this article, you agree that you accept all terms and conditions of use, as specified online.
The ability to hear is something we may take for granted. But our ability to listen to, enjoy and comprehend the sounds around us is nothing to take lightly. Hearing actually depends on a complex series of events. Basically, sound waves in the air translate into electrical impulses, which are carried to the brain along the auditory nerve. (Read about "The Brain" "Nervous System")
Here's what happens, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD):
First, sound enters the ear, which consists of three major parts: the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. Sound waves enter the outer ear and travel through the ear canal to the eardrum. The eardrum vibrates from the incoming sound waves and transmits these vibrations through three tiny bones called the ossicles (the malleus, incus and stapes) in the middle ear. These tiny bones amplify the sound and send it to the inner ear and into the fluid-filled hearing organ called the cochlea. Here, the vibrations create ripples in the fluid that bend projections from tiny hair cells in the cochlea, causing electrical impulses that the auditory nerve or eighth cranial nerve, sends to the brain. The brain then translates these impulses into what we experience as sound.
Because of the complexity of both our ears and the process that leads to hearing and comprehension, many things can go wrong. The following links will take you to some of the more common problems that affect our sense of hearing.
Acoustic neuroma: see Balance Disorders
Balance disorders: see Balance Disorders
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo: see Balance Disorders
Earache: see Earache
Glossary: see Speech/Hearing/Smell/Taste Glossary
Hearing loss: see Hearing Loss
Hearing aids: see Hearing Loss
Labyrinthitis see Balance Disorders
Ménière's Disease see Balance Disorders
Meningitis: see Encephalitis & Meningitis
Noise and hearing: see Noise and Hearing
Otitis externa: see Otitis Externa
Otitis media: see Otitis Media
Otosclerosis: see Hearing Loss
Presbycusis: see Hearing Loss
Rubella: see Childhood Illnesses
Ruptured eardrum: see Ruptured Eardrum
Tinnitus: see Tinnitus
Turner syndrome: see Turner Syndrome
Usher syndrome: see Usher Syndrome
Vertigo see Balance Disorders
Vestibular schwannoma see Balance Disorders
All Concept Communications material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.
© Concept Communications Media Group LLC