Our ears are quite the engineering feat and the way we hear is nothing short of amazing. To better understand how our hearing actually works, it can help to take a quick peek inside.
Let’s start at the ear canal, a pathway that leads sound waves from the outer to the inner ear. The waves travel down this tunnel until they hit what looks like a dead end known as the eardrum. That drum is actually a membrane—a cushion connecting to three small bones that do a little dance when activated by sound waves.
These bones are connected to a snail shape no bigger than the size of a pea. The snail is full of fluid and tiny hair cell bundles. Here, sound is translated into high and low frequencies. After sliding down the auditory nerve, these frequencies make their way to the brain, which interprets them as sounds we can hear and comprehend.
The hearing experience may still be enshrouded in mystery and, while we’ve simplified it quite a bit, that’s the gist of the sound wave journey. If you want to get your bones dancing, you can screen your hearing for free in less than 5 minutes with our online hearing test.