The human ear consists of three parts:
The outer ear: consists of the auricle and the external auditory canal. Sounds are collected and guided through the ear canal to the middle ear. The sound arrives at the eardrum — a flexible, circular membrane — which starts to vibrate when sound waves strike it.
The middle ear: is an air-filled space separated from the outer ear by the eardrum tympanic membrane (pronounced: tim-'pa-nik). The sound waves are passed on by the movement of the eardrum to the middle ear. In the middle ear are three tiny bones: the malleus, incus and stapes, often referred to as the hammer, the anvil and the stirrup. They are collectively known as the ossicular chain. These form a bridge from the eardrum to another membrane at the entrance to the inner ear. Their interaction increases and amplifies the sound vibrations further before these are relayed fully into the inner ear via the oval window.
The inner ear: referred to as the cochlea (pronounced: kohk-le-a), is similar in shape to a snail shell. It contains several membranous sections which are filled with watery fluids. When the sound waves vibrate the oval window, the fluid begins to move, thus setting minute hair cells in motion. These hair cells then transform the vibrations into electrical impulses, which are sent via the auditory nerve and on to the brain. What we call "noises" are actually just "sound waves", which are transmitted through the air.
There are many factors that may affect or cause adult hearing loss, including:
• Long-term exposure to noise
• Reactions to medications or treatments
• Ear Wax
Do you feel you have a hearing loss?Answering these questions is the right place to start:
• Do people always comment that the volume on your TV or radio is too loud?
• Have you missed visits and calls from people because you didn't hear the doorbell or telephone ringing?
• Do you have trouble following conversations in crowded or noisy settings?
• Do people seem to mumble and not speak clearly during conversation?
• Do people tell you that you speak too loudly?
• Do you frequently ask people to repeat themselves?
• Do your friends and family suggest that you have a hearing problem?
• Do you have a difficult time understanding the words of popular songs when listening to the radio?
Contact us if you have answered yes to any of those questions.