The delicate structure and balance of the human ear allows us to identify and process sounds of varying types throughout our daily lives. For the sake of communication, many people take it for granted that our ability to hear is what allows us to create social bonds, establish an identity for ourselves, and continue to exist in the everyday world. Once we acknowledge the way that our ears actually work, it will help us to better identify the problems that might faze us, including hearing loss that affects a growing percentage of Americans every year.Divided into three main components: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear, each part has a special function that leads to the overall process of hearing by the human body. Starting with outer ear, which has the primary purpose of capturing sounds from the outside world and funneling them into ear canal; we begin to recognize how the physiological structures of our body are intended for very particular purposes.
The smallest bones in the human body are located within the inner ear and known as the ossicles. These bones, if damaged can cause severe aural plus that are not always treatable. They essentially amplify vibrations and transmit sounds into the inner ear, also known as the cochlea. Another important component of the middle ear is the Eustachian Tube, which controls air pressure and brings fresh oxygen into the lining of the middle ear. If you’ve ever been on a plane and experienced that ‘popping’ of the ears, as well as changes in your hearing ability, you can attribute it to the compensations being made by these components in your middle ear.Lastly, the inner ear interprets vibrations and passes them through 25,000 tiny nerve endings, which then send the signals to the brain to be processed as sound information. Now that the complexity of the different components of the ear is understood, the degrees and symptoms associated with hearing loss can be addressed.
The most common hearing problems are those experienced by nearly every person at some point in their lives, and can be attributed to bacterial infections. Due to improper hygiene, mostly, these conditions can be treated with antibiotics and proper long-term care of your ears. Other issues that may affect people can be traced back to a traumatic event or hereditary problem. Common symptoms that might cause an individual to realize they have a problem include a loss of balance, difficulty understanding people, and acute pain in and around the ears. If any of these symptoms is felt, immediate medical attention is required.The degrees of hearing loss can vary dramatically depending on the cause. For some, a simple infection can easily be cleared up within a few weeks time. For others, the use of medical devices such as hearing aids or even surgical procedures may be required in order to restore one’s health to normal.