The anatomy of the ear is precisely shaped to capture sound waves and amplify them. When sound waves enter the ear they follow what might seem like a long and arduous path. But every “station” has a precise function. This is how it works:

  1. Sound waves are picked up by the outer ear, which is made up of the pinna and the ear canal.
  2. Sound is channeled to the eardrum, which vibrates when the sound waves touch it.
  3. The vibrations are picked up by three tiny bones known as the “ossicles”, which create a bridge from the eardrum to the inner ear.
  4. The vibrations move on to the cochlea – a spiral-shaped capsule housing a system of fluid-filled tubes.
  5. When the sound waves read the fluid it begins to move, setting thousands of tiny hair cells in motion.
  6. The movements of the hair cells are transformed into electrical impulses that travel along the auditory nerve to the brain.
  7. The brain decodes and interprets the electronic impulses, turning a stream of speech sounds into separate, recognizable words.