Stop for a moment and notice what you hear. Really pay attention. Beyond the likely suspects of people talking or the volume of the television, what’s going on in the background? Can you hear traffic? Is the neighbor’s dog barking? Are any of your appliances humming along?Truth be told, much of your hearing is on autopilot. Our brain is processing the sounds our auditory system collects as automatically as we inhale and exhale. In fact, the way we hear is a fascinating and, sometimes mysterious, process. Here are some things you may not know about how your hearing works.
What happens when sounds enter your ears?Have you ever thought about what happens once sound enters your ears? Just as the brain interprets the images your eyes see, the brain is also responsible for interpreting the sound your ears collect. Here’s how it works:
- Your outer ear (pinna) acts like a satellite dish to collect sound in our environment and funnel it to the inner ear.
- The inner ear translates the sound into electrical impulses and sends it along the auditory nerve.
- Once the electrical impulses reach the brain, it interprets them into recognizable sound.