Your ears collect sounds, process them, and send sound signals to your brain. And that's not all; your ears also help you keep your balance.
The ear has external, middle, and inner portions. The outer ear is called the pinna and is made of ridged cartilage covered by skin. Sound funnels through the pinna into the external auditory canal, a short tube that ends at the eardrum (tympanic membrane). Sound causes the eardrum and its tiny attached bones in the middle portion of the ear to vibrate, and the vibrations are conducted to the nearby cochlea. The spiral-shaped cochlea is part of the inner ear; it transforms sound into nerve impulses that travel to the brain. The fluid-filled semicircular canals (labyrinth) attach to the cochlea and nerves in the inner ear. They send information on balance and head position to the brain. The eustachian (auditory) tube drains fluid from the middle ear into the throat (pharynx) behind the nose.
Colds, flu, infection, allergies, fluid and wax build up are conditions that can affect the ability of the ears to do their job. Structural abnormalities are less common but can also be a cause of reduced hearing or balance problems. If you are experiencing:
- ringing in the ear(s)
- fluid drainage from the ear(s)
- hearing loss
call today for an appointment to help us determine the cause of your symptoms. A medical examination may also be required, combining the best methods to treat your condition.
360.825.4466 Office of Dr. Nancy Becker
360.825.4027 Becker Hearing Center
Debbie Hake, Hearing Instrument Specialist