top of page Skip to main content
Ekstrom Library

Government Resources: Health, Disability, Safety, Nutrition and Fitness: Deafness


Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants

Hearing Loss: Communication

Hearing Loss: Education

Hearing Loss: Employment

Hearing Loss: General

Hearing Loss: Military

Hearing Loss: Prevention

How Do We Hear?

The ear has three main parts: the outer, middle and inner ear. Sound enters through the outer ear and reaches the middle ear where it causes the ear drum to vibrate. The vibrations are transmitted through three tiny bones in the middle ear, called the ossicles. These three bones are named the malleus, incus and stapes (and are also known as the hammer, anvil and stirrup). The ear drum and ossicles amplify the vibrations and carry them to the inner ear. The stirrup transmits the amplified vibrations into the fluid that fills the inner ear. The vibrations move through fluid in the snail-shaped hearing part of the inner ear (cochlea) that contains the hair cells. The fluid in the cochlea moves the hair cells, which bring about nerve impulses. These nerve impulses are carried to the brain where they are interpreted as sound. Different sounds move the hair cells in different ways, allowing the brain to hear different sounds. Source: NIH

ear anatomy


About Hearing Loss (CDC)

Impairments in hearing can happen in either frequency or intensity, or both. Hearing loss severity is based on how well a person can hear the frequencies or intensities most often associated with speech. Severity can be described as mild, moderate, severe, or profound. The term “deaf” is sometimes used to describe someone who has an approximately 90 dB or greater hearing loss or who cannot use hearing to process speech and language information, even with the use of hearing aids. The term “hard of hearing” is sometimes used to describe people who have a less severe hearing loss than deafness. Source: CDC

Discover. Create. Succeed.