Ears; fascinating things!

Ears; fascinating things!

If you are considering a hearing consultation because your hearing is deteriorating, it might help you to understand exactly how your ear works…

Outer Ear

There are lots of conditions which can affect the outer ear. Often these conditions give you the sensation of having blocked ears. This could lead to inflamed or infected ears later. Sometimes these conditions can affect how your hearing aids work or prevent your audiologist from examining your ear properly. Generally, most of these conditions are treated easily leaving no long-term issues. The most common outer ear condition is probably a build up of earwax. We offer earwax removal appointments at any of our clinics or in the comfort of your home. We rid you of your earwax by using microsuction which is considered the safest of wax removal procedures.

Middle Ear

The middle ear is a space behind the eardrum that contains a chain of tiny bones called the ossicles. These bones stretch from the eardrum to the cochlea (which is in the inner ear). When your eardrum vibrates, it causes these tiny bones to move backwards and forwards. This movement is how the sound waves pass through to your inner ear.

The middle ear is also connected to the space at the back of your nose by a small passage called the Eustachian tube. Every time you swallow, yawn or blow your nose, this tube opens and allows air into your middle ear.

Middle ear conditions, such as a perforated ear drum, otitis media or glue ear, can cause earache and temporary hearing loss. Usually these conditions are caused by an infection. However, sometimes they can be caused by fluid remaining in the ear after an infection, injury or object being placed in the ear. Anyone can develop middle ear problems but some are more common in children, e.g. glue ear.

Inner Ear

The inner ear is made up of 2 parts; cochlea and the vestibular system. The cochlea is responsible for hearing and the vestibular system is responsible for balance. The cochlea is a fluid-filled chamber lined with thousands of tiny sensory cells known as hair cells. When sound waves enter the cochlea, these hair cells trigger electrical signals in the hearing nerve. The hearing nerve sends these signals to the brain which recognises them as different sounds.

The vestibular system is also filled with fluid and has 3 small chambers lined with sensory cells. As you move your head, the fluid inside these chambers moves. In response to this movement, the sensory cells create electrical signals that are sent to the brain. The brain uses this information to create a detailed idea of your body movement and head position. This, along with your vision and the sensors in your joints, helps you keep your balance. Often conditions associated with the inner ear affect your balance and can make you feel dizzy or even nauseous.

If you would like any further information about booking a hearing consultation with Veritas, please get in touch.

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