Human Ear Facts

The ear is the organ that detects sound. Not only does it receive sound, but it also aids in balance and body position. The ear is part of the auditory system. Often the ear refers to the entire organ, though it may also just be the visible portion..

  • Only few a gifted creatures on earth have specifically designed organs for hearing. Most organisms have hidden auditory organs with shared functionality. Humans are one of such gifted species.
  • Ears never stop hearing, even when we sleep. Our brain just ignores incoming sounds and starts interpreting it when we are awake.
  • The number one cause of hearing loss is exposure to excessively loud sounds (85 decibels or higher), but your hearing can be damaged permanently even after a single incident of exposure to extremely loud noise (shotgun blast, explosion, etc.).
  • The smallest bones in our body are the ossicles in the middle ear: the incus, the malleus, and the stapes (also called the anvil, hammer, and stirrup).
  • Have you ever held a seashell to your ear and listened? It has an unusual sound. The roar that we hear when we place a seashell next to our ear is not the ocean, but rather the sound of blood surging through the veins in the ear.
  • Sounds are measured in intensity (how loud it is, in decibels) and pitch (how high or low the sound is, in hertz)
  • The average person can hear sounds down to about 0 dB, the level of rustling leaves. Some people with very good hearing can hear sounds down to -15 dB. If a sound reaches 85 dB or stronger, it can cause permanent damage to your hearing.
  • Normal human hearing is generally between 20 hertz and 20 kilohertz–compare that to 15 to 200 kilohertz for dolphins and bats. Just like hearing range for loudness, though, this gets narrower as you get older, particularly at the higher end of the range.

Ear Facts

  • Can you tell when a human really listens? How about animals? A dog’s attention level can be determined by noticing their ears. Ears forward means engaged. Pulled back ears means friendly.
  • If you’ve ever felt a jolt of vertigo or felt a bit wobbly, you might have an inner ear infection. Your inner ears are full of fluid that moves around to signal to your brain that you are moving. This fluid can also tell your brain whether you’re sitting up, leaning back, lying down, or whether your head is looking straight ahead, up, or down.
  • Tiny hair cells in your inner ear are what translates sound waves to electricity to send to the brain. You’re born with about 3500 of these cells, and they can be damaged by really loud noises.
  • Have you ever popped your ears? When you go up or down a very large hill or mountain, the pressure of the air changes. This puts pressure on your middle ear, which causes the popping sound.
  • Cats have excellent hearing and can detect an extremely broad range of frequencies. They can hear higher-pitched sounds than humans or most dogs, detecting frequencies from 55 Hz up to 79 kHz.
  • Do you know that there is a connection between the middle ear and the throat? This connection develops through the Eustachian tube causing you to go dumb every time you catch cold. The main function of the tube is to equalize the pressure between the atmosphere and the body.
  • Ears produce their own wax to protect themselves from friction and dust. If you make frequent attempts to remove this wax, it may damage the tympanic membrane in the ears causing deafness.

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