How your ear works – Inside the Human Body: Building Your Brain – BBC One


Inside your ear, sounds set off a complex chain of events. They enter as pressure waves which push and pull your eardrum, making it vibrate. On the other side of the eardrum, these vibrations set a series of bones jiggling. They end with the smallest bone in your entire body, called the stirrup. It’s smaller than a grain of rice. These bones allow you to hear. If a sound is too loud, a muscle pulls the stirrup away from the most sensitive parts. Temporarily at least, you go a bit deaf but the rest of your ear is protected. Beyond the stirrup is a fluid-filled cavity, your Cochlea. The incoming sound waves tickle clumps of tiny hairlike sensors on the floor. These begin to dance to the sounds of the world outside. You have 30,000 sensors. Each picks out a different part of the sound and sends it straight to your brain.

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