Sound waves travel through many different parts of our hearing system before they are converted into electrical signals that are perceived as sounds by the brain. Let’s look at the anatomy of our hearing system so we can better appreciate what works behind the scenes for us to hear.
Sound waves travel through the ear canal to reach the eardrum. The eardrum vibrates which then moves three bones within the middle ear. The movements in the bones then activate the cochlea which sends electrical signals to the brain through the auditory nerve. We only perceive the sounds when they travel through the entire system to activate the appropriate part of the brain. Since the pathway to the brain is so complex, anomalies in any part of the ear leading up to the brain can cause changes in hearing. We can also appreciate that many parts of our hearing system need to work together for us to hear normally.