Most people think of ears as small receivers that just catch sound so we can hear, but hearing is actually more complicated than just catching sound. Ears are amazing organs with several different places to receive sound and send signals to your brain. Your other senses, like taste and smell, rely on chemical signals from your taste buds or olfactory bulbs to communicate with your brain, but hearing is an entirely mechanical process. That is, only the movement of physical structures of the ear are necessary to hear.
This article will walk you through the physics of sound waves and the physical components of the ear that deliver sound to your brain. You’ll find out how the parts of the ear work together, how to protect your ears, and ways things can go wrong with this system and cause hearing loss.
What is Sound?
Hearing starts with sound, but what IS sound anyway?
Sound is the vibration produced when an object moves. There are big sounds, such as trucks driving past and small sounds, like gas escaping into the air. Our ears can’t hear every type of sound, but even when we can’t hear it, every time matter moves in space, a sound is produced.
When an object moves, it displaces the air around it. All those air particles push and slam into the air particles next to them, an