The next installment of our series on how sound travels!
How does sound travel through our ears up to our brain?
Sound waves enter the ear through the outer ear, which consists of the pinna (the visible part of the ear) and the ear canal. These waves travel down the ear canal and hit the eardrum, a thin membrane that separates the outer ear from the middle ear.
The eardrum vibrates in response to the sound waves and sends these vibrations through the middle ear. The middle ear contains three small bones called the ossicles (the malleus, incus, and stapes), which amplify the vibrations and transfer them to the inner ear.
The inner ear contains the cochlea and the vestibular system. The cochlea, a snail-shaped structure, converts the vibrations into electrical signals that are sent to the auditory nerve. The auditory nerve carries these signals to the auditory cortex in the brain, where they are interpreted as sound.
The vestibular system, on the other hand, is responsible for detecting changes in balance and movement. It consists of the vestibular nerve, which carries signals to the brain about the body’s position in space, and the vestibular apparatus, which includes the semicircular canals and the otolith organs. These structures help us maintain our balance and coordinate our movements.
Overall, sound travels through the ear to the brain via a complex process involving the eardrum, ossicles, cochlea, and vestibular system. These structures work together to allow us to hear and interpret sound, as well as maintain our balance and coordination.