Two women enjoying themselves in nature and having a conversation, while being able to understand each other

All you want to know about hearing

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Why is hearing important?

Hearing lets us communicate with others and socialize with our loved ones. Our hearing gives information about what is happening around us and hearing can even alert us to danger. Hearing helps us relax while listening to music or enjoying the sounds of nature. 

What is hearing and how does it work?

Hearing is an important human sense for communicating and connecting with others. Our ears pick up the sounds around us, translate them into nerve signals and transmit them to the brain. This is how we can recognize and understand many sounds like speech, music and noise. For this process to happen, every part of the ear must be working properly. 

Anatomy of the ear

The human ear has three main parts: the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. 

  • The visible part of the external ear collects sound and directs it into the external auditory canal to the eardrum

    Outer ear

    The visible part of the external ear collects sound and directs it into the external auditory canal towards the eardrum.
  • In the middle ear, the eardrum is connected to the ossicles which amplify and transmit the vibrations to the inner ear

    Middle ear

    In the middle ear, the eardrum is connected to the ossicles which amplify and transmit the vibrations to the inner ear.
  • The inner ear has two parts, one is the cochlea which converts the sound vibrations into electrical impulses

    Inner ear

    The inner ear has two parts, the cochlea which converts sound vibrations into electrical impulses and the vestibular system which maintains our balance.

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Your sense of hearing is always active, even when we are sleeping. The brain just ignores most incoming sounds

4 amazing facts about our hearing

  • The cochlea in the inner ear has the circumference of a pencil eraser.
  • The ossicles are three bones, the hammer, anvil and stirrup. They are the smallest bones in the human body. The stirrup is approximatively 2-3 mm long.
  • Our sense of hearing is always active, even when we sleep. The brain just ignores most incoming sounds. That’s why we can be woken up by an alarm or even by a gentle voice.
  • The inner ear contains your balance organs that send signals to your brain about your movement.

How to protect your hearing

It is possible to prevent noise-induced hearing loss. This kind of hearing loss happens because of excessive and repeated exposure to noise. Loud sounds, such as amplified music during a concert or from power tools, can damage some of the hearing mechanisms in the inner ear. To prevent this from happening you can wear hearing protection such as soft disposable ear plugs. 

When do I need to wear hearing protection?

We recommend that you wear hearing protection if:

  • there is so much noise that you must speak very loudly to make yourself heard to someone close by
  • the noise hurts your ears or makes them ring
  • you find it difficult to hear for several hours after exposure to a loud environment.
Man sitting on a couch checking his hearing with the online hearing test

Check your hearing

Would you like to learn more about your hearing ability? Within five minutes we can give you an idea of how well you hear.