How Your Ear Works

Outer Ear The outer ear collects sound waves and funnels these through the ear canal towards the eardrum.

Middle Ear Struck by sound waves, the eardrum begins to vibrate; consequently, the vibration triggers the rapid movement of three tiny bones (the ossicular chain) within the middle ear. Through this process sound is intensified before reaching the inner ear through the oval window (a membrane).

Inner Ear Sound waves passing through the oval window initiate a wave-like movement of fluid within the cochlea. As a result, thousands of sensory hair cells are activated and, in turn, electric signals are generated. Via the acoustic nerve, the signals travel to the brain, where they are recognized as sounds.