The human ear is composed of three parts: the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. The human ear has the function of producing hearing and balance sense. The ears of normal people can distinguish about 400000 different sounds, some of which are so small that they can only make the eardrum move one tenth of the diameter of the hydrogen molecule.
When the sound is emitted, the surrounding air molecules have a series of vibrations. These vibrations are sound waves, which propagate outward from the sound source. When the sound reaches the external ear, it is transmitted to the external auditory canal and reaches the tympanic membrane through the sound gathering function of the auricle. The tympanic membrane is the boundary between the outer ear and the middle ear. It is as thin as paper, but very strong. When the sound wave hits the eardrum, it causes the vibration of the eardrum.
In the middle ear cavity behind the tympanic membrane, there are three connected ossicles. Each auditory ossicle is only the size of a grain of rice. It is the smallest bone in the human body. Their names come from their shapes. Next to the tympanic membrane is the mallet (like the mallet), followed by the anvil (like the anvil), and finally the stapes (like the stirrup). When the sound waves vibrate the tympanic membrane, the auditory ossicles vibrate. The three auditory ossicles actually form a lever system that amplifies and transmits sound to the inner ear.
The last stapes of the three auditory ossicles are attached to a tiny membrane called the oval window. The oval window is the door of the inner ear, and there is a specialized organ in the inner ear, the cochlea. When the stapes vibrate, the oval window vibrates. On the other side of the oval window are fluid filled cochlear ducts. When the oval window is vibrated, the liquid begins to flow. There are thousands of hair cells in the cochlea, with tiny cilia on the top. When the liquid flows, the cilia of these cells are impacted. After a series of bioelectricity changes, the hair cells convert the sound signal into bioelectricity signal and transmit it to the brain through the auditory nerve. The brain processes and integrates the information it sends to produce hearing.
In addition, the inner ear contains a very important organ, the semicircular canal. The semicircular canal is composed of three vertical rings, which are specialized in the sense of balance in the three-dimensional space of the head. When there is something wrong with the semicircular canal, it may cause dizziness.
Hearing is the necessary communication channel of human social life. However, the most important thing is that hearing makes us feel the environment and produce a sense of security and participation. Hearing is very important for health.
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Link：How ears work
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