Hearing Loss Overview
A variety of hearing disorders affect adults and children. Based on the nature and severity of the disease, treatment may include medication, various hearing aid strategies, and/or surgery.
Anatomy of the Ear
The ear has three parts:
- The Outer Ear Consists of the auricle (the part you see), external ear canal, and the surface of the eardrum. Sound vibrations collect on the eardrum (tympanic membrane), which acts like a collecting antenna.
- The Middle Ear The sound waves set the eardrum in motion, which activates three little bones located in the middle ear. The middle ear consistes of the hammer, anvil and stirrup (known medically as the malleus, incus and stapes).
- The Inner Ear Stirrup bone movement vibrates the fluid that fills the inner ear. In the snail shaped part of the inner ear called the cochlea, vibrating fluid stimulates tiny hair cells that line the cochlea. The hair cells stimulate the hearing nerve creating impulses that travel to the brain and are interpreted as sound.
This video from Med-EL visually explains how hearing works.
Communicating with the Hard of Hearing