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21st Century Hearing Medical Information

The Ear [also see: products and product range]
The ear responds to the vibrations that constitute sound, and these are translated into nerve signals and passed to the brain. The ear consists of three parts: outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear. The outer ear is a funnel that collects sound, directing it down a tube to the ear drum (tympanic membrane), which separates the outer and middle ear.

Sounds vibrate this membrane, the mechanical movement of which is transferred to a smaller membrane leading to the inner ear by three small bones, the auditory ossicles. Vibrations of the inner ear membrane move fluid contained in the snail-shaped cochlea, which vibrates hair cells that stimulate the auditory nerve connected to the brain. Three fluid-filled canals of the inner ear detect changes of position; this mechanism, with other sensory inputs, is responsible for the sense of balance.

When a loud noise occurs, muscles behind the eardrum contract automatically, suppressing the noise to enhance perception of sound and prevent injury. Below you can see a sectional view of the ear and a modern hearing aid.


Sound
A physiological sensation received by the ear, originating in a vibration that communicates itself as a pressure variation in the air and travels in every direction, spreading out as an expanding sphere.

All sound waves in air travel with a speed dependent on the temperature; under ordinary conditions, this is about 330 m/1,070 ft per second. The pitch of the sound depends on the number of vibrations imposed on the air per second, but the speed is unaffected. The loudness of a sound is dependent primarily on the amplitude of the vibration of the air. The lowest note audible to a human being has a frequency of about 20 hertz (vibrations per second), and the highest one of about 20,000 Hz; the lower limit of this range varies little with the person's age, but the upper range falls steadily from adolescence onwards.  

For further information about the ear and how its functionality can be enhanced
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