Ears allow us to make use of our sense of hearing. Such a sense, in turn, lets us enjoy the sounds of our world, from listening to our teammates in video games or sports, to jamming out to the beat of our favourite music.
The ear itself is an intricate organ divided into three primary parts – the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear.
Sound is first collected by the pinna – this is the visible part of the ear we typically see on our heads. The pinna gathers and funnels the sound into the ear canal, causing it to strike the eardrum.
When the eardrum vibrates, it also moves a trio of tiny bones in your middle ear. These three bones are known as your malleus, incus and stapes, and are the tiniest bones in the human body.
The vibrations of sound pass into the inner ear through an organ known as the cochlea, which is filled with fluid. Sound causes the fluid inside to vibrate as well, moving hair-like cells to-and-fro like an anemone under the sea. These movements are passed as signals to the nerves connected to the inner ear, and are transmitted into the brain. The information received from the vibrations is processed into hearing.
Our ear diagram labelling game is a helpful resource for learning about the anatomy of the human ear.