How does the Shape of the Ear help with Hearing?


Ear Shape and HearingEveryone’s ear is shaped differently. However the shape of your outer ear is designed to help your hearing – it helps amplify sound and locate the source of sound.  

Pressure waves carry sound throughout the air. After these waves enter your ear canals, the inner ear translates the sound waves into nerve signals that are sent to the brain. It is only when the brain processes these signals that you hear sound. The pinnae, also known as auricula, which protrude from each side of the head, serve as funnels: they collect, amplify, and channel sound waves into the ear canal. The folds and curves of the pinnae enhance sounds up to 100 times and leave other pitches intact reducing background noises and resolving the direction of the sound. Sounds traveling from the front and sides are enhanced by the pinnae. However, those sounds approaching from behind us are reduced, leading to a small differentiation in volume regulated by our two ears. The difference in volume coupled with the difference in arrival time assists us in determining the source of the sound.

Essentially, this is how natural hearing functions:

  • Sound waves travel through the ear canal and strike the eardrum.
  • These sound waves cause the eardrum, and the ossicles (three bones also known as the malleus, incus, and stapes) within the middle ear, to vibrate.
  • The vibrations travel through the fluid in the spiral shaped inner ear, known as the cochlea, causing the tiny hair cells in the cochlea to shift. The hair cells detect the motion and convert it into the chemical signals for the hearing nerve.
  • The hearing nerve then sends the information to the brain with electrical impulses, where they are discerned as sound.

At the CNC Hearing and Balance Center, of the Culicchia Neurological, you will receive complete hearing care from highly trained physicians and audiologists. There is no other coordinated multidisciplinary team in the New Orleans area as deeply qualified to address hearing and balance issues as CNC Hearing and Balance Center. The Center is under the leadership of Dr. Moises Arriaga, a world renowned Neurotologist. Dr. Arriaga and the expertly skilled staff are qualified to diagnose, treat, and manage your hearing loss. Call us today for more information or to make an appointment at one of our two locations: Uptown at (504) 934-8321, or in Marrero at (504) 934-8320.

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