Anatomy of the ear


– Ears are brilliantly fascinating. They’re in charge of collecting sounds, sending those sounds to your brain, which gives meaning to those sounds. Let’s go and explore. (upbeat music) Hallux’s Hearing Help Desk. (upbeat music) (snoring) – Aw, poor old Professor Hallux. Looks like he’s gone to sleep. I wonder what he’s dreaming? (harp music) – Hello, hello? Gosh, it’s a bit dark in here, or should I say in ear? (light clicks) Ha, thought as much. I’m inside a human ear. Ears are brilliantly fascinating. They’re in charge of collecting sounds, sending those sounds to your brain, which gives meaning to those sounds. Let’s go and explore. (harp music) The ear is made up of
three different sections. The outer ear is the part
where I’m currently standing. Down there’s the middle ear. And beyond, the inner ear. They all work together to help you hear and understand sounds. The outer ear collects sounds, a bit like a funnel, and points
them into this hole here. This is called the ear canal, and that’s where I’m going next. (swishing) Gosh this canal is sticky. It’s covered in earwax. Although it’s icky and gloopy,
it has an important job. It stops stuff from
getting stuck in your ear and helps fight off
germs that make you sick. (mumbling) Whoa, there’s lots of sounds
coming in from the outside. They’re racing down the
ear canal to the eardrum. The eardrum is a thin piece
of skin that’s stretched tight between the outer ear and the middle ear. Another term for the eardrum
is the tympanic membrane, which comes from the same word as tympani. That’s the big kettle
drum used in orchestras. (drum vibrating) Right, let’s squeeze through to the other side of the ear drum. Breathe in everyone. (popping) That was a tight squeeze. Vibrations from the eardrum
are transmitted through to these three amazing
tiny bones called ossicles that help deliver sound
into the inner ear. These clever ossicles
have some funny names. The first ossicle is called
the malleus (bell dings), then there’s the incus (bell dings), and the last is the stapes (bell dings). They are the smallest bones in the body. The word stapes means stirrup, and indeed, it even looks like a tiny stirrup. Hmmm, imagine how small
the horse would have to be. (horse galloping) And now we’re at the
cochlea, a spiral shaped tube that’s full of liquid that
moves around like a wave. Tiny hairs along the walls of the cochlea move as sound passes through it. Each hair sends messages to the brain, creating the sensation of sound. The inner ear also helps control balance. The hairs can sense whether
the liquid is moving this way, that way, or moving around and around. Messages are then sent to the brain, which helps us to stay balanced. Now, sometimes we all feel dizzy. If you’ve been spinning
around or moving quickly in different directions,
that swooshing liquid carries on moving after you’ve stopped, and that can make your
brain very confused. It might have happened to you after you’ve got off
a roller coaster ride. After a while, the liquid settles down, you feel better again, and then head off for another ride; whee. – Professor? Are you OK? – What, huh, I want another ride. – You’ve been dreaming Hallux. – Screaming, I wasn’t screaming was I? I mean I know I snore a bit – No, you were asleep. – Heard a sheep? No I haven’t heard a sheep. – The sooner we get your
ears checked the better. – [Professor] Hallux’s Hearing Help Desk. Find out more about your ears
and hearing at phonak.com (upbeat music)

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