Can I have a “CHEARS” for the auditory system? Can you hear what I hear? Of course you can, we have our auditory system, especially our ears to thank for that. Our ears are part of the auditory system and I know that it is a structure of your body that is pretty much familiar to you. Ever since you were little you always knew that the ears are responsible for hearing sound and sending the information to the brain so that you know what sound you’re hearing.
But did you also know that our auditory system also aids us in balancing and body positioning? That’s pretty a little unknown information about the auditory system that you haven’t thought about too much because we always thought our ears are strictly just for receiving sound. Your “ear” is actually only the outer and visually portion of the entire system. Although it is the most popular part of this system, it isn’t the only structure that makes our auditory system function properly.
Just like our nose in our olfactory system, even our ear is divided into three different portions: we have the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear.
These three sections work in collaboration with one another to make our auditory system function to its optimal potential.
- The outer ear, as the word describes, is the portion that is visual to the naked eye. We have a “pinna” or “auricle” which is the portion that people can see. It’s the part that people most commonly pierce. Since the structure of our outer ear is sort of like an opening of a cave with a tunnel leading sound inside, it gathers sound for the other sections of the hearing system to interpret to send off to the brain.
- The “ear canal” is the tunnel and is similar to a canal formation. Ever hear of ear wax? That’s where ear wax is produced, right in our ear canals. When we clean our ears, we find this substance that has a yellowish to brownish color that is called as ear wax. This substance protects our ear canals along with the little hairs in the canal to filter the dust and dirt that could go inside our ears and cause infections and other unpleasant ailments to our auditory system. Earwax also has chemicals mixed in it that fights off bacteria that could damage the skin in the ear canal.
- After sound is collected in our outer ear, it then proceeds to the middle ear. The responsibility of the middle ear is convert sound waves collected and transform it to vibrations to send off to the inner ear to further interpret the sound being heard.
- The “eardrum” is the important component of the middle ear for the conversion of sound waves to vibrations. The eardrum is given its name because it looks exactly like a drum because it has a thin piece of skin that is stretched over a part of the ear. The separation of the outer ear and middle ear is actually the eardrum.
- We also have a structure in our middle ear called “ossicles.” Like I’ve mentioned in the skeletal system, this is where the smallest bone in our body is located. The ossicles are the most delicate bones in our entire body and it is comprised of three bones.
- In Latin, the part of the ear called a “hammer” is the “malleus” and it’s connected to the actual eardrum.
- The “incus”, in Latin “anvil”, is attached to the malleus.
- Lastly, but of course not the least, is the “stirrup” in Latin but also known as the “stapes.” This is the smallest bone in our entire body and is connected to the incus. The eardrum vibrates once sound waves are being received. The three delicate bones in the middle ear help sound travel further into the ear.
- Now we arrive to the inner ear where the vibrations are received in our hearing system. The structure in our inner ear is called the “cochlea” which sort of has the shape of a little snail because it is a curled up tube. This structure in the ear is filled with fluid and creates a wave-like motion for your ossicles to vibrate. The cochlea contains tiny hairs that when the vibrations reach those tiny hairs, they start to move and these are the structures that create the nerve signals to the brain to decode the sound. It may seem like a long process but this is done extremely fast. Consider the sounds that you hear almost every minute of the day and it takes microseconds to interpret a certain sound.
Taking care of your auditory system isn’t too difficult because you don’t have to take brush it every day for it to shine or so you don’t get bad breath. It’s plain and simple.
- While in the shower, you could wash your ears while washing the rest of your body.
- You don’t always need to clean your ears for earwax. Although it’s a little gross, it is actually very important for our entire hearing system.
- Using a cotton ball isn’t always a good thing because it pushes the earwax further into the ear canal which could cause infection and complications to the ear.
- While showering, you can simply wash the opening of your ears with a soft washcloth.
- Make sure that there isn’t excess water and soap on the washcloth though because it could go deep within the system and cause ear infections.
- Make sure you don’t stick anything sharp inside your arms because it could damage your system.
- During a hot day, make sure you wear a hat that covers your ear or put sunscreen on the outer part of your ear so that it is protected by the sun.
- When winter comes along, keep your ears covered up with earmuffs because of the risk of frostbite.
- If you’re a swimmer, you can buy earplugs at sports stores so that chlorine water doesn’t get into them. Swimming pool water isn’t as clean as you think just because it has chlorine, which has had known cases to creating a problem for your auditory system.
- To prevent “swimmer’s ear” make sure you dry your ears after swimming and shake out any excess water off from inside your ears. If it gets infected, you can experience symptoms of redness, fullness in the ear, swelling and pain.
That’s pretty much common sense because hurting yourself isn’t something that you do on a daily basis. So always keep all those tips in mind so your hearing system is good and ready to hear the world around you. Home remedies could be used to treat minor ailments to the auditory system which could work wonders.
Your auditory system doesn’t ask for much, it isn’t demanding with how it should be cleaned, so be nice to them since they bring sound to your life!