Communication Matters

10 Interesting Facts about Ears & Hearing

Dr. Laura Brady | Posted on November 20, 2018
  1. iStock-519002912 Children with normal hearing in both ears generally perform better with auditory tasks and processing sound in their right ear up until puberty.
  2. Ears are completely individual just like fingerprints! Yahoo has even explored technology that could unlock a cell phone when held to the ear.
  3. Of the 206 bones in the human body, the six smallest are in your ears: three in the right and three in the left. Together, each three are about the size of a pencil eraser.
  4. The hearing organ, called the cochlea, has 16,000 microscopic hair cells called sterocilia.
  5. The unit used to measure loudness – the decibel - was named after Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone.
  6. We turn the radio up when we drive on the highway and down when we are on side streets is due to the fact that those with normal hearing need sound levels to be nearly 10 decibels louder than background noise. This is referred to as the signal-to-noise ratio.
  7. Other than vision and proprioception (the ability to sense the orientation of your body in your environment), our primary organs of balance, known as the vestibular system, are located in the inner ear. There are three semi-circular, bony rings located on different levels which contain fluid that moves as we move.
  8. Ears are self-cleaning. Only the outer third of the ear canal produces ear wax (cerumen), which moves outward on tiny hairs as we move our lower jaw to talk or eat.
  9. Thunder is the sound accompanied by lightning, but often there is a delay between when we see lightning and hear the thunder. That’s because sound travels nearly 760 mph whereas light travels about 186,000 mph. This is why we see lightning before we hear thunder.
  10. The best way to measure the distance of lightning from your location is by counting the seconds (one Mississippi, two Mississippi…) between the lightning and thunder. For every five seconds you count, the storm is about one mile away.

Tags: Hearing