Sound waves come into the external ear and hit the eardrum

Sound waves come into the external ear and hit the eardrum 1

The outer ear channels sound waves through the ear canal to the eardrum. The ear is divided into three parts – the outer, middle and inner ear. Sound waves come into the outer (external) ear and hit the eardrum, causing the eardrum to vibrate. When a sound wave hits a flexible object such as the eardrum it causes it to vibrate, which begins the process of hearing. In the process of collecting sounds, the outer ear also modifies the sound. Ability to identify where a sound is coming from.

Sound waves come into the external ear and hit the eardrum 2Sound waves travel through the ear canal and hit the tympanic membrane, or eardrum. The middle ear still contains the sound information in wave form; it is converted to nerve impulses in the cochlea. Some of these axons come from the cochlear nucleus and cross over to the other side before traveling on to the superior olivary nucleus. Once the sound waves have passed the pinna, they move two to three centimetres into the auditory canal before hitting the eardrum, also known as the tympanic membrane. The air-filled middle ear transforms sound waves into vibrations, protecting the inner ear from damage. Human beings also have the special ability of being able to estimate where sounds originate from, commonly called sound localization. The malleus (Latin for hammer) is connected to the mobile portion of the ear drum. Hearing begins with pressure waves hitting the auditory canal and ends when the brain perceives sounds.

After sound has traveled through the outer ear and hits the tympanic membrane, the sound wave moves from one ossicle to another through the middle ear. When sound waves hit the eardrum, the waves create vibrations that cause three ossicles (bones) in the middle ear to move. People with mixed hearing loss may have damage to the outer ear, the middle ear, the inner ear, and/or the nerve that connects the inner ear and the brain. The ear is divided into 3 parts – the outer, middle, and inner ear. Sound waves come into the outer (external) ear and hit the eardrum causing the eardrum to vibrate.

Auditory System

The pinna (the part you can see) of the outer ear, gathers sound waves and directs them into the ear canal. These sound waves travel down the ear canal which acts like a funnel and hit the eardrum which cause the eardrum to vibrate. The middle ear itself (the tympanum) lies deep to the eardrum and is an air-filled space that holds three small bones (ossicles), which connect the eardrum to the inner ear. At least 90 per cent of these nerves come from the inner hair cells, despite their smaller number. A sound wave traveling through a fluid medium (such as a liquid or a gaseous material) has a longitudinal nature. The eardrum is attached to the bones of the middle ear – the hammer, anvil, and stirrup. Sound waves traveling through the ear canal will hit the tympanic membrane (tympanum, eardrum). The hair cells of the organ of Corti transform the fluid waves into nerve signals. The pinna collects sound waves in air affecting sound coming from behind and the front differently with its corrugated shape. The sound waves go through the ear canal and hit the eardrum and cause it to vibrate. Swimmer’s ear is different from the kind of infection you get in the middle part of your ear. The doctor looked in Darren’s ear and told him he had a perforated eardrum. The outer ear funnels sound waves into the ear canal that hit the eardrum and make it vibrate. If there is fluid coming from the ear, a sample of the fluid might be tested in a lab.


Objective 1: The middle ear functions to transmit sound efficiently from air to fluid. Although we have seen that the acoustic properties of the outer ear and external canal substantially increase sound pressure at the eardrum above that in a free sound field for the middle frequency range, the middle ear constitutes another important mechanism to increase auditory sensitivity. Motion of the eardrum causes the malleus and incus to rotate as a unit about a pivot point; rotation of the long process of the incus about this pivot causes the stapes to rock back and forth in the oval window, setting up a wave of sound pressure in the fluid of the inner ear. Sound waves are directed by the pinna into the ear canal. Sounds coming from the front and sides are slightly enhanced as they are funneled into the ear canal, while sounds from behind are slightly reduced. Sounds waves travels down the ear canal until they hit the eardrum, causing it to vibrate. The middle ear contains three tiny bones, called the ossicles. These three bones form a connection from the eardrum to the inner ear. As sound waves hit the eardrum, the eardrum moves back and forth causing the ossicles to move.