1) Sensation and perception are closely linked. What is the central distinction between the two?
Sensations can be defined as the passive process of bringing information from the outside world into the body and to the brain. The process is passive in the sense that we do not have to be consciously engaging in a "sensing" process. Perception can be defined as the active process of selecting, organizing, and interpreting the information brought to the brain by the senses.
2) If we sensed and attended equally to each stimulus in the world, the amount of information would be overwhelming. What sensory and perceptual processes help us lessen the din?
Perceptions vary from person to person. Different people perceive different things about the same situation. But more than that, we assign different meanings to what we perceive. And the meanings might change for a certain person. One might change one's perspective or simply make things mean something else. You would also use vision to observe different people who were having a conversation as well as listening to observe all the conversation taking place.
What senses would likely be impaired if a person were somehow missing all of the apparatus of the ear (including the outer, middle, and inner ear)?
If someone was to lose total hearing that would be devastating. If you were to totally lose your hearing you would be losing one of the most important senses you have and this can affect you in other areas including your equal equilibrium not being able to walk straight can cause major ramifications in your life like blurred vision, headaches as well as the loss as speech