How Hearing Works

  • Sound waves enter the outer ear, which consists of the pinna and ear canal.

  • The sound waves enter the middle ear by means of vibrating the eardrum.

  • The eardrum transfers sound to the three tiny bones of the middle ear (malleus, incus and stapes, also known as the hammer, anvil and stirrup).

  • The movement of the bones causes fluid displacement within the inner ear (cochlea, or organ of hearing).

  • As the fluid moves within the cochlea, thousands of tiny hair cells are put into motion. It is the movement of the hair cells which create electrical impulses that send information along the auditory nerve to the brain.

  • Once the brain receives the auditory information, it processes and decodes it. This is how we understand what we hear.