From detecting the simplest sounds, to performing the most complex listening activities, your brain is responsible for making sense of everything you hear.Of course, you need your ears to capture sounds, but you only understand these sounds once they arrive in your brain. So hearing – and especially speech understanding – is a cognitive process, not a mechanical one. Read on to understand why this is so.
The ear-to-brain mechanics
The general function of the 3 parts to the ear is to deliver meaningful sounds to the brain for processing and deriving a meaningful understanding out of it. The outer ears collect air particles and deliver it to the middle ears. 3 tiny bones transmit that sound as mechanical energy and send it to the inner ears, which turn it into hydraulic energy. The inner earsare connected to the auditory nerve, which ultimately converts the sound into electrical impulses and transmits them to the brain.
Good hearing requires your ears to pick up all the sounds, so that your brain can decode the message for understanding. But when your brain does not get the right sounds to work with, it takes intense effort to extract meaning from partial sounds available.
Hence, if there are any problems with the transmission of sound at the ear level, the brain will not get the complete information to decode for understanding, and it ends up working hard to fill the gap in sounds.
The system that never sleeps
Believe it or not, your auditory system works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! Even while you are asleep, this sensory system is actively sending information to your brain. Your brain then filters out sounds it can recognize, process and understand. Without you realizing it, your brain is constantly at work, focusing on what you want to hear (i.e. speech) and deciding how much attention to give to meaningless noise (i.e. the air-conditioner humming).
While there may be several reasons that can prevent you from having good hearing, at Quality Hearing Care, our team of experts examine each level of hearing, and are happy to provide guidance and solutions that are suited to your needs and lifestyle.