How do we hear?

January 9, 2012 by Stéphanie Hamel
How do we hear?Sounds reach our ear canal and travel down to the eardrum located at the end (outer ear).

Behind the eardrum are the 3 middle ear bones, which are connected end to end and which transmit sound from the eardrum to the inner ear (cochlea). The cochlea is snail-shaped and contains fluid and tens of thousands of special cells called hair cells. Each hair cell is designed to detect a specific tone (or frequency).

The hair cells are connected to the auditory (hearing) nerve. This nerve could be compared to an electrical cable. Its duty is to transmit the signal detected by the cochlea to the brain. Once the signal reaches the brain, it is recognized, permitting us to identify sounds and understand speech.