Where is Lady Gaga building her new home? Are Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie breaking up? Who is Justin Bieber's new squeeze? How much does that drug call 'Charlie Sheen' cost?
Gossip, they call it. And everyone wants to keep up with it. But when the paparazzi brigade march into town – this gossip business gets serious! Things are interpreted out of context… the person in question is falsely accused, of God knows what!
And then there's office gossip – that's the one I hate the most. Everyone wants to know what everyone else is up to and there comes a point when jealousy rears its ugly head.
At least with the former, physical distance is possible but with the latter, you're always within eavesdropping range. Probably one of the worst ways in which we can engage our ears… and most fun too!
Hearing, the Ear Diagram and How It Works
The human ear has been designed (what they call in "architecture") to suit the function involved, and that is of hearing. An acute sense, though not as good as the dolphins, which can identified by the ability to distinguish clearly between noise and music, in particular. Maintaining balance is also another key function that is served by this organ.
To say the least, it's an organ that works continuously, whether you are asleep or not. Of course, since its primary purpose is to collect sounds and feed it to the brain to interpret, you can be sure that you will be looking at is 'complex machinery' consisting of three parts such as the inner, middle and external ear.
It shouldn't be so surprising since the cow has several stomachs… and because it's common knowledge in this age of science and technology.
Parts of the Ear
If you look at the ear diagram closely, you'll the find the aforementioned parts. The part known as the "external ear" is the only visible part of the ear and it contains a ear canal, the auricle and the outer portion of the ear drum. The ear canal is known to be able to collect practically any sound – whether a whisper or even a shout.
However, the sounds collected doesn't just stop there. It moves into the second part known as the middle ear, which contains three ear bones and the ear drum. Called ossicles, these three bones look like an anvil, stirrup and hammer.
The function of the middle ear is to convert the sounds transmitted from the external ear into vibrations. For this, the ear drum plays an important role while the ossicles send them to the inner ear, for the cochlea to perform a vital function.
The cochlea has about 17000 hairs in each ear, and are activated by these vibrations. This creates an impulse which the auditory nerve sends to the brain.
As for the function of balance, this is due to semicircular canals in the inner ear filled with a fluid and hairs which knows whether the body is positioned correctly or not. In the case of the latter, a message will be sent to the right muscles to regain the right posture or form.
While it must have taken you about 3-7 minutes to read the 'journey' of how a sound makes it to the brain, the process itself is completed within nanoseconds. The information then causes one to take action… in the form of the classic 'fight or flight' mode that we demonstrated in animals.
Just like the action we could take when our ears fall upon a juicy tale of "gossip"…