How the Ears Work – Nemours KidsHealth

The ears collect
sounds and turn them into messages for the
brain to interpret. They also send information
about balance to the brain. Three sections of the ear work
together to make this happen. They are the outer ear, the
middle ear, and the inner ear. The outer ear is made up of
the pinna and the ear canal. These parts gather sounds
from the environment and funnel them
into the middle ear. The middle ear takes these
sounds and turns them into vibrations. Sounds that come
into the middle ear hit the eardrum,
causing it to move. The eustachain
tube helps the ear drum to work well by keeping
the air pressure balanced on both sides. When the eardrum moves, it
makes three small bones, called ossicles, vibrate. The vibrations are then
sent to the inner ear. The inner ear
receives vibrations and changes them into
messages that go to the brain. These messages are
called nerve signals. The inner ear is made
up of the cochlea and the vestibule,
which includes the semicircular canals. The cochlea has fluid in
it that moves like a wave. This happens when vibrations
come in from the middle ear. The moving fluid causes hair
cells to make nerve signals about sound. Semicircular canals
also use moving fluid to create nerve signals
that help with balance. Then the signals
from the cochlea travel along the auditory nerve. Signals from the
semicircular canals go along the vestibular nerve. These two nerves come together
and lead to the brain. There, the brain decodes the
signals to get information about sound and balance. [MUSIC PLAYING]


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