How the Ear Works

The ear is composed of four general areas that pick up sound waves and translate them into sounds in our brain.


Outer ear – The concha captures sounds in the form of vibrations in the air. The vibrations are carried through the ear canal to the tympanic membrane, which vibrates and thereby passes the sound into the middle ear.

Middle ear – The three bones of the Hammer, Anvil and Stirrup are put into motion by the vibrations in the tympanic membrane and transmit the sound to the inner ear.

Inner ear – In the cochlea, tiny hair cells and their nerve endings are stimulated, which convert the vibrations into nerve impulses.

Central auditory pathway – The nerve impulses are carried to the brain by the central auditory pathway. The brain recognizes the impulses as sounds such as speech or noise.