sensory perception of sound by living organisms
Hearing is one of the five senses. Ears detect vibrations in the air. These vibrations are sounds. Most animals can hear. Most land vertebrates hear through ears. Fish hear in several different ways. Many use their swim bladder to hear, and many use their lateral line.
In mammals, sound travels through three main parts of the ear to be heard. These are the outer, middle and inner ear.
- Outer Ear - This is the part of the ear that we can see called the pinna as well as the inside of the ear called the ear canal. Sound first travels through the pinna and ear canal then to the eardrum at the end of the canal which the sound makes vibrate.
- Middle Ear - Sound continues to travel deeper into the ear and is helped by three of the smallest bones in the body - hammer, anvil and stirrup - to reach the inner ear.
- Inner Ear - Here the sound reaches a small tube shaped like a snail shell, called the cochlea. Inside the cochlea is a fluid, which moves tiny hairs that send signals to the brain which interprets sounds for you to understand and hear