Hearing is a magical kind of sense. Unlike sight which requires us to open our eyes and look around, or the sense of touch which relies on physical contact, hearing just “happens.” But how?
It may look unusual, but your ear is a highly specialized piece of equipment on your body. Your cupped outer ear catches sound waves and directs them into a series of complex sensors. As the sound waves travel through your ear canal, they make your eardrum and tiny bones vibrate. Nerves in your inner ear pick up on these vibrations and turn them into electrical impulses to your brain. Your brain can then identify these sounds as speech, music, noise, and more. If any of these sensory parts are damaged, your entire sense of hearing is affected. This may be because a part of your ear becomes blocked. Nerves may get damaged. Sound waves may not be processed correctly. Fortunately, hearing instruments can often step in to assist damaged hearing functions.