A Guide To Human Ears
By Tyler Woodward
Being hard of hearing or even deaf is difficult for anyone. It makes life magnitudes more difficult and our sympathy should go out to anyone who struggles with hearing issues. Having this happen to us can be difficult and tumultuous as well. Knowing the anatomy of the ear and how it works can give us the tools we need to take care of our ears so we can protect our hearing for the rest of our lives.
Function and Structure Of The Ear:
The ears are sensory organs that are used for hearing and balance. There are three main parts to the ear, the outer part, the middle part, and the inner part. Each part of the ear is responsible for helping to respond to sound or movement in different ways.
The outer and middle of the ear are responsible for capturing and transmitting sound waves into the inner portion of the ear and eventually to the brain where the sound waves can be interpreted. The inner ear is responsible for the action of hearing and for maintaining balance.
- The Outer Ear - The outer ear is made up of the earlobe, also known as the pinna, and a canal known as the ‘External Auditory Meatus’ that funnels sound to the tympanic membrane. This membrane is what separates the outside ear from the middle ear.
- The Middle Ear - The middle ear consists of three bones known as ossicles. The ossicles are moved by the sound waves hitting the tympanic membrane and transmits them to the inner ear via the oval window. The middle ear also contains the eustachian tube that connects the ear to the throat.
- The Inner Ear - The inner ear is perhaps the most complex part of the ear. This part of the ear is where the vestibular system that is responsible for balance lies. It is also where the main organ for hearing is, known as the cochlea, and where the brain stem connects to the ear and receives impulses from sound via the vestibulocochlear nerve.
Read More: A Tour Of Inside The Ear
Common Issues With The Ear:
The ear is a relatively sensitive part of the body, and is easily exposed to the environment and trauma. Some of the most common issues of the ear include:
- Swimmers Ear
- Middle Ear Infections
- Blocked Ears, usually from ear wax
- Pain from changes in atmospheric pressure
Ear infections affect almost 12 percent of all children in the US. Learning how the ear is structured, and how it works can help you more effectively take care of your ears to avoid this.
Read More: How The Ear Controls Our Balance
Easy Ways To Support Healthy Ears:
Some actions outside of these to keep your ears healthy include:
- Get your ears checked regularly by your healthcare provider
- Don’t clean your ears with anything smaller than your finger
- Don't listen to music in your headphones to loudly
- Don’t stress - tinnitus can develop if you are overly stressed.
These are some of the most common and effective tips for keeping your ears healthy. Using these steps in combination with a healthy diet and lifestyle will help keep your ears sharp for years to come.
Your ears play an important role in how you experience the world. From being able to hear properly, to keeping balance, your ears are needed. Knowing how your ears work and how they are structured can help you take care of them to prevent many of the common issues seen with them. Keeping them healthy with the tips in this article will help them stay in use and sharp for the rest of your life.