Chapter 14

Detecting Sound Waves with the Ear

In This Chapter

arrow Hanging things from the ear and more

arrow Powering the eardrum

arrow Understanding how important hearing is

How humans and other animals hear is very complex. Understanding the entire process from the sound waves entering the auditory canal to the processing of the electrical signals is important to know. In addition, the ear is extremely sensitive to sound waves. Humans can hear over an enormous range of intensities and over a very large range of frequencies. Hearing is an important area of biophysics with many applications in research and in society. For example, with an increased understanding of the ear, scientists can develop improvements in repairing people with damaged hearing.

This chapter examines the ear and one of its primary functions — hearing — discusses the power within a sound wave and its transfer to the ear, and explains different applications, such as complex waves and beats.

Understanding Hearing and the Ear

One of the primary functions of the ear is to convert energy from one form (sound waves) to another form (electrical impulses, which are transmitted to the brain). The human ear doesn’t just convert the ...

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