Sat March 05, 2011 By: Anandakrishnan .

explain how the human ear works?

Expert Reply
Sat March 05, 2011

Dear student

The ear is the most important organ for auditory system helping in the detection of and in perceiving the sound waves. Human ear has three most important parts, the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear.

Functions of the Various Parts of the Human Ear:

Outer ear: The sound waves are first received by the outer ear consisting of an ear flap, the pinna and the ear canal, also called the external auditory meatus. The ear flap or the external ear part, the pinna is made up of soft tissue and cartilage that helps in the maintenance of the particular shape of the ear and is flexible. The pinna of the outer ear functions by collecting the vibrations of the sound from our surroundings and sends the signals into the ear canal. The external auditory meatus extending from the pinna to the tymphanic membrane function by helping the individual in understanding the direction of the sound and its source. The tymphanic membrane is responsible for the translation of sound waves to vibrations.


Middle ear: The space filled with air behind the ear drum is the middle ear consisting of three very tiny bones, the malleus (hammer), the incus (anvil) and the stapes (stirrup), collectively called the ossicles. The middle ear containing the Eustachian tube helps in the regulation of the pressure. All the ossicles, the three tiny bones help together in the amplification of the signals transmitted by the ear drum.


Inner ear: The inner ear comprises of the cochlea, the auditory nerve and the semicircular canals. The inner ear has the organs of sense that is helpful in the hearing and in the maintenance of the balance. The cochlea, which is present in the inner ear is associated with the hearing function.


Maintanence of the balance of the body is another function of the human ear. The various parts of the human ear helping in balancing is the the semicircular canals that consists of the utricle and the saccule, which are present in the inner ear.

The various components of the human ear

Conclusion on the Function of the Ear:

To summarize, the most important functions of the human ear are hearing and the balance control. The function of human ear can thus be described by the flow of sound waves to nerve impulses in the following manner: the movement of the middle ear drives in the mechanical energy from the transmission of sound waves into the oval window present inside the cochlea, stimulating the tiny hair cells and agitates the fluid inside the cochlea. These hair cells help in the translation of the signals to nerve impulses, which is further sent to the brain through the acoustic nerve.

Hope this clarifies your doubt.
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