Human beings have five senses: taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing. While hearing is one of the most critical senses, it may also be the least understood. Below you will learn the basics of sound, how the ear works and how hearing aids help those suffering from hearing loss.
What Is Sound?
While the senses of taste, touch, smell and sight are possible through a multitude of chemical reactions, the sense of hearing is entirely mechanical. Sounds are created by vibration. You can understand this concept if you think about the string of a guitar or a violin. Plucking the string causes it to vibrate. The vibrations are amplified by the body of the instrument, producing the distinctive sound of that instrument. Different sized strings produce different sounds; thin strings have a higher pitch than thicker strings.
The sounds you hear are the result of sound waves produced by the vibrations of the object. The frequency of a sound wave determines the pitch of the sound. A high-pitched sound has a greater number of vibrations in a given period of time than a low-pitched sound. The amplitude of a sound determines how loud it is. Amplitude is defined as the height and depth of the sound wave. Greater amplitude produces a louder sound, while smaller amplitude produces a softer sound.
How The Ear Works
The human ear consists of three parts: the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. The outer ear is the part you can see on the side of your head. The middle ear includes your ear canal, the ear drum and the three smallest bones in your body: the hammer, the anvil and the stirrup. The inner ear consists of a fluid-filled, spiral-shaped organ known as the cochlea.
The outer ear, which is known in the medical world as the pinna, acts like a funnel to catch sound waves and channel them through your ear canal. When these waves reach your ear drum, they cause it to vibrate in a fashion similar to the membrane of a snare or bass drum in an orchestra. In fact, the medical term for the ear drum is the tympanic membrane.
Attached to the ear drum is the hammer, which is in turn attached to the anvil and the stirrup. These tiny bones move as the ear drum registers sound. These vibrations are transmitted to the fluid-filled cochlea and sent to the brain via nerve impulses. The result of this complex process is sound recognition.
The Hearing Aid
The finely-tuned hearing process can become affected over time if the tiny hair cells on the nerves in your ears become damaged. Hearing loss is especially common in those whose occupations require them to be around loud noises for extended periods of time. This demographic includes musicians, orchestra conductors, recording engineers and construction/factory workers.
Those who suffer from hearing loss can often benefit from the use of a hearing aid. Hearing aids, such as those available from Miracle Ear, amplify sounds before allowing them to enter your ear canal. This amplification enables your ear to pick up sounds that it would otherwise be unable to hear.
A hearing aid can help improve your life if you are suffering from hearing loss. By investing in a high-quality hearing aid, you can help preserve your relationships and feel confident about going out among people again.