MEDARVA: How does your ear work?

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Henrico Monthly
September 2014

How does your ear work?

Your ears do a lot more than just stick out of the sides of your head! They have two big jobs – they make sure that information from the sounds around you gets to your brain, and that you can walk in a straight line even after you’ve done three somersaults. 

Your ears are like funnels. Sound waves go into the ear and set off a chain reaction ending up with your brain understanding what you just heard. You probably know that when you have an ear infection, you can’t hear very well – that’s because the tiny bones inside of your ear are surrounded by fluid and can’t move well, just like when you try to run when you’re in a swimming pool. 

Deep inside your ear, you have a little gyroscope that helps you keep your balance. There are three little tubes which have fluid inside. When you move your head, the fluid moves around and this information is carried by special nerves to your brain to help automatically know which end is up! ■