Whether you’re asleep or awake, your ear can do some incredible things. Here are 9 facts you probably didn’t know about your ears and your hearing!
Your inner ears are responsible for both hearing and balance, so a disease that affects one system can also have an impact on the other. For example, Meniere’s Disease is characterized by low-frequency hearing loss and dizziness.
The cochlea is the innermost part of the ear, and is about the size of a pea! It looks similar to a snail shell, and if unraveled would be a mini-tube about 31.5mm long.
The middle ear contains the smallest bones in your entire body, with the stapes being the tiniest. These three little bones help transmit sounds to the inner ear. Altogether, they can fit on a penny!Humans can hear frequencies as low as 20 Hertz (Hz) and up to 20,000Hz.While you’re sleeping, your ears continue to function.
They will pick up sounds, but your brain blocks them out.Ears detect most sounds, but they have limits. When a sound exceeds a certain frequency level, it registers only as ringing or buzzing in our ears (not to be confused with tinnitus, which is a ringing, buzzing, or similar sound with no external cause).Your ears are self-cleaning.
Pores in your ear canal produce cerumen (aka, earwax), and tiny hairs called cilia to push it, along with the detritus it traps, out of the ear canal naturally.
Although many find earwax “gross”, it protects the ear from dust, dirt, and friction, and unless you produce an excessive amount, doesn’t require cleaning out.
The sensory neurons responsible for hearing are called hair cells. They are found inside your cochlea in the inner ear.
If enough of these cells are damaged or destroyed by the aging process, excessive noise exposure, ototoxic substances, or lack of adequate blood supply, the result is hearing loss. Unfortunately, most hearing loss is irreversible because those hair cells do not grow back.