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Understanding the Ear Diagram

Posted Jan 11 2011 8:09am


Rock has been one of my favorite genres of music to listen to. Truth be told, it is anything but 'easy listening' and with the controversy that surrounds the effects it has had on kids in the 80s (thanks to backmasking and all that jazz), it is mainly the spiritually-inclined that have a problem with this kind of music.

At another level altogether, doctors aren't too pleased with the long-term effects that are a result of listening to this kind of music. Apparently, there's a decent amount of damage done when one listens to this music for prolonged periods of time, and it is not advisable for one to do this.

And even then people (me, included) continue to ignore the advice that is often meted out by concerned parents, friends and the link… what can I say? It's "music" to our ears…

Yet there's no doubt that no matter what our preference in music is, having a pair of fully-functioning ears are a blessing indeed. Ask the folks who struggled without hearing until the bionic ear has become prevalent amongst those who has lost their hearing!

The Ear Diagram (The Outer, Middle and Inner Ear)

While the primary function of the ear as a whole being to collect sounds, it also plays a role is helping one with balance and body position. And in understanding the three parts of the ear, one will be able to understand how the ear works in performing these vital functions.

But before all that, a perfectly normal set of ears work continuously whether you are asleep or aware, which means collecting the various sounds around you and transmitting it to the brain so that one can interpret what these sounds actually are.

But first and foremost, the outer ear (the visible portion of the ear) consists of a ear canal, the auricle and the outer portion of the ear drum. This canal-shaped passage collects the sounds and transmits them to the middle ear regardless of whether it is a whisper or a very loud noise.

Now, the middle ear consists of a eardrum and three ear bones (also known as ossicles) such as the anvil, hammer and stirrup and the primary function of this part of the ear is to convert these sounds collected by the outer ear into vibrations for which the ear drum plays an important part while the three bones transmit these vibrations to the inner ear, and specifically, the cochlea.

So, when these vibrations are received from the ossicles to the cochlea (which is a small curled up tube filled with liquid ) as vibrations, it activates tiny hairs (which is almost 17,000 in number in each ear) which move (and are known to work as amplifiers) due to the vibrations, thus creating an electrical impulse that is transmitted by the auditory nerve to the brain.

Thus, your brain interprets what sounds these are, and pretty much all of this is done within nanoseconds, which makes the process really amazing… doesn't it?

And as for the balance aspect, the inner ear also contain semicircular canals that are filled with a liquid and these hairs which work as a way to tell your brain as to what your body position is like, and which will result in message being sent to the right muscles in order to help one regain balance based on the position sent.

In Closing

Whether or not one can experience loss of hearing with rock music, the truth is that the culture it has spawned is far better than the tone-deaf musicians of today. Ugh!

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