The human ear and sound

Gif_El oído y el sonido.gif

First of all my respectful greetings to all the academic community of Hive.blog, we continue relating to those waves that carry sound from one place to another and thus manage to reach our auditory systems (ears), therefore, this time we will relate to the human ear and the phenomenon of sound.

Introduction

When talking about the phenomenon of sound, it will always be important to be able to relate to our natural auditory systems since it is through them that we can capture those mechanical waves that carry sound, and as has been expressed in other deliveries, sound will always have its origin in the vibration of certain particles components of an object or body.

Through sound we can also perceive what is happening in our environment because there are countless sound waves that reach our ears, and also the sources of generation of these sounds can be both natural and artificial, the truth is that our environment is full of these types of sources of sound generation and even our own physical entity represents a natural source of sound generation and that is what we will be talking about in general in this article.

Of course, when we relate to our ears we must say that we will be linked to the sound spectral fraction audible to these natural auditory systems, since in the acoustic spectrum there are sound waves that our ears cannot pick up, such is the case of the infra and ultra sounds, but we will be talking about them in other deliveries.

The human ear

Our environment is full of countless sources of sound generation in general and this sound propagates from one place to another using the air as a material or elastic medium until it reaches our ears, where the sound is captured by a series of elements that make up our auditory sense as shown in figure 1 below.

Figure 1. The human ear and sound

Figure_1.JPG

In the previous figure 1, they could visualize each of the external, middle and internal elements of our ear, and these components fulfilling elementary functions, and all this, in order to carry the sound to our brain, in general we can express that when referring to the external part of our ear we get those elements that we can observe, and where we also have the external auditory canal.

When sound propagates from one place to another until it generally reaches our ears, first through the ear canal and then reaches the eardrum, this last element is nothing more than a flexible membrane which vibrates when it comes into contact with the sound waves, and this vibration is the essential characteristic for the sound to be generated and to be able to transmit it in the same way it vibrates the component particles of the objects with which it interacts, as in the case of the eardrum.

After the auditory canal and the eardrum we get those intermediate components, and both parts separated by the eardrum as shown in the figure above, it is important to note that the middle ear represents a space filled with air, and inside which we find three important elements called, hammer, anvil and stirrup, and are generally known as ossicles.

The previous elements or ossicles work as main links or bridge from the eardrum to the inner ear, therefore, they are essential or important at the moment of transferring the vibrations that originate the sound from our environment.

By further analyzing figure 1, we can say that the inner part of our ear is shaped like a snail shell, and also has several membranes which contain liquid inside, therefore, when the ossicles carry the sound towards the oval window, the liquid mentioned above vibrates (all liquid represents a material or elastic medium for the propagation of sound) and thus manages to stimulate the nerve cells of our inner ear.

According to the above mentioned, oscillations or electrical impulses are sent through the auditory nerves to our brain, and these impulses are duly interpreted by our brain as sounds, and this is how we are able to interpret the different sound waves that originate in our environment.

Like the previous example which represents a source of artificial sound generation, we can also relate to a natural source of sound generation such as our vocal cords and that when they impact with our ears vibrate each element of the same propagating these waves to our brain, then you can enjoy the generation of sound in a natural way, and also captured naturally by our auditory systems (ears) as you can see in the following Figure 2.

Figure 2. Vocal cords and the human ear

Figure_2.JPG

In figure 2 you could see how sound is an essential part of our existence since for human beings it represents our main form of communication, and also, we can capture or perceive the world around us, of course, when these waves have wavelengths perceptible to our ears.

Conclusion

We could say that every phenomenon that takes place in our environment has a vital function for our existence on this planet, even though in many occasions we cannot perceive it, but they all have a fundamental role in the development of our lives, and sound undoubtedly represents one of these essential phenomena.

The sound is organized within a sound spectrum where we find that spectral fraction that our ears can perceive, and in it we find different sounds such as high, medium and low, highlighting qualitatively that the shorter the wavelength the higher the frequency, and thus, such vibrations will be faster and thus the sound transmitted will be in the sub-fraction of high sounds, to name an example, but, similarly can be done for low sounds, only in the opposite direction.

Until another installment my dear readers of Hive.blog, through our rich history we have been able to collect any form of learning from our environment and an example of this feature is the sound in all its dimensions and of which we will be deepening in future installments.

Note: All images are my own and were created using Power Point and the animated gif was created with the PhotoScape application.

Recommended Bibliographic References

[1]Physics of sound

[2]Specular and diffuse sound reflection. Author: @rbalzan79.

[3]Sound absorption. Author: @rbalzan79.

[4]Sound transmission. Author: @rbalzan79.

[5]Sound diffraction. Author: @rbalzan79.

[6]Sound refraction. Author: @rbalzan79.

[7]Acoustic or sound spectrum. Author: @rbalzan79.

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