Typically it is thought that we hear with our ears. We actually hear with our brain. The ear is just the path it takes to the brain.
Our brain and our ears work together as a team. The ear collects the sound waves and the brain processes those sound waves/electrical signals into speech or into something we can identify around us.
Let’s follow the journey from the ear to the brain:
- First the outer ear called the pinna collects sound waves and goes through your ear canal to your eardrum.
- This causes the eardrum to vibrate and sends the vibrations to three tiny bones in the middle ear. These tiny bones are called malleus (hammer), incus (anvil) and stapes (stirrup).
- These vibrations enter the cochlea, a snail shaped structure filled with fluid.
- When the sound waves reaches the fluid it stimulates thousands of tiny hair cells.
- The stimulation of the hair cells transforms into electric impulses that is sent to the auditory nerve to the brain.
- Then the brain processes this electrical signal and turns the words or noise into something we can identify and understand.
Now let’s think about this process and hearing loss.
Think of hearing loss as a doorway issue because remember the ears are simply the doorway or path to the brain.
With hearing loss this doorway or path is obstructed to different degrees. Once obstructed even slightly the sound does not reach the brain with the intended high intensity it needed to turn the sound into auditory information. This doorway obstruction to any degree interferes with auditory information reaching the brain.
The good news is hearing aids, cochlear implants, FM systems, bone anchored devices help break through that obstruction and delivers auditory information to the brain.
Hearing loss is a doorway problem.
The brain is where the actual hearing is occurring.
Nikki Clark, Director of Operations
Corvallis Hearing Center
Make an appointment today to start your journey to better hearing! 541-754-1377 You can also see a list of our services by clicking on the link below!