The World of Sound Around Us

Topics: Ear, Noise pollution, Auditory system Pages: 7 (2700 words) Published: December 5, 2012
Living in a world surround by sound
Todays world is truly a marvel of its own. We have made extraordinary advances in technology, transportation, education and engineering, but with all the advantages that come with these advancements in the modern world, disadvantages come with it also. We have become well informed about diseases, psychological, and health. Along with this came tons of research on how to be healthier, how to eat correctly and how to take preventative measure to ensure that you do not get sick, we have gone to extreme lengths to help fix and prevent vision lost. So as you can see todays modern society has pretty much covered everything, well not quite yet. Its sad to say but society has over looked sound. Sound is all around us all day and all night, even when we think its completely quite it actually is not. Our hearing is something that we take for granted in our day to day lives, but there is something not many people know and that is your hearing does not come back.

Sound is a mechanical wave that is an oscillation of pressure transmitted through a solid, liquid, or gas, composed of frequencies within the range of hearing and of a level sufficiently strong to be heard, or the sensation stimulated in organs of hearing by such vibrations. [The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition] So when comes down to it, all sound is is tons of molecules wether being gas, liquid or solid that collide together in a wave formation. But what transforms that energy into “sound” as we perceive it, this is where the ear comes in.

The ear can be divided into three main parts: the outer ear (Pinna), the middle ear and the inner ear. The outer ear is responsible for helping us locate the original location of the sound, like if its above, bellow, behind or in front of us. It also helps to funnel and focus sound waves on their way to the middle ear. The middle ear contains the auditory canal, which ends at the eardrum, or tympanic membrane. Attached to the other side of the eardrum, in a small air pocket, are three tiny bones which make up the ossicles. These three bones are called the malleus, incus and stapes, these bones are attached to a fluid-filled structure called the cochlea in the inner ear at a point called the oval window. Here the vibrations transmitted from the eardrum through the tiny bones are converted into electrical impulses sent along the auditory nerve to the brain. [How does the ear work?]

But what does the ear do to help protect itself? Our ears have a built-in defense system to protect themselves against loud noises. In the middle ear there are two muscles that contract when loud sounds occur that could possibly injure the inner ear and cause some loss of hearing. The first muscle contracts to decrease the vibration of the eardrum when noise exceeds a certain level. The other muscle cuts down on the movement of the stirrup bone in the middle ear. This helps reduce the severity of the vibrations that are transferred to the fluid of the inner ear. All this is to help protect the delicate structures In the inner ear. This is the ears only defense against damage, and it was developed (evolved) 85 million years ago with chimps. The loudest noises this was used to protect from was most likely thunder, it was not created to protect against the constant loud abuse.

There is a very delicate but vital organ that is in the inner ear and that is the Corti. This is where vibrations are converted from mechanical energy to electrical impulses that travel up the auditory nerve to the hearing area of the brain. The Corti organ is what gets damaged and leads to loss of hearing. The Corti organ is a sensitive element within the inner ear, it contains four rows of hair cells which stand on the surface. Above the hairs is the Tectoral membrane which can move in response to the pressure changes from the fluid. There are some where between 16,000-20,000 hair cells along the basilar...
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