Hearing connects us to people – the joy of a grandchild’s laugh, the pleasure in a shared moment, a sweet nothing whispered in your ear. When you struggle to hear, your ability to communicate effectively is compromised, and it can become difficult to enjoy participating in daily activities such as outings with friends, parties, business meetings or family gatherings. It can also become challenging to talk on the phone, or listen to the television at a normal level.
How the ear functions
The ear consists of the outer, middle and inner ear. The outer ear gathers sound waves from the environment and directs them via the middle ear to the inner ear.
The middle ear is an air filled cavity, connected to the outer ear via the eardrum. It contains 3 small bones. These tiny bones conduct the sound waves to the inner ear.
The inner ear consists of the balance organ (vestibule) and the hearing organ (cochlea). Inside the cochlea, there are tiny hair cells that move in response to the movement of the tiny bones in the middle ear.
This triggers a chemical response, which activates the hearing nerve that transmits the sound signal to the brain. The brain then interprets the sound signal, which enables us to understand and interpret sounds.