To understand how we hear, and how some common problems occur, it helps to understand ear anatomy. ...
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To understand how we hear, and how some common problems occur, it helps to understand ear anatomy. Your ear canal is connected to the tympanic membrane, or eardrum, which senses sound waves entering your ear. Inside the ear canal, wax is created to remove dust particles from the air before they reach the tympanic membrane. But wax buildup can also prevent sound waves from reaching it. Using a Q tip can push the wax in deeper and worsen the problem. When sound waves do reach the tympanic membrane, it vibrates, which causes small bones in the middle of your ear, called the ossicles, to shake. They may be blocked from moving if an infection in your middle ear causes a build up fluid and bulging of the tympanic membrane. The motion of the inner ear bones produces pressure waves, which set in motion tiny hair fibers in the inner ear or cochlea. The inner ear hairs convert their motion into electrical signals, which are carried to the part of the brain that perceives sound. Listening to loud music can shear the hair cells, so that they tear and shrivel. This is a primary cause of hearing loss, especially when there is too much noise in the environment.