Physical Fitness and Well-Being and Ear Care Part 1

About physical fitness, medical information, trivia, anatomy, well-being and care of your ears.

TAKING A PHYSICAL--HEAD TO TOE

EARS

Sound begins as moving air.

Picture your ear as a drum, and the movement of air as drumsticks striking it.

Your eardrum, which is a thin membrane of living tissue, is vibrated by air moving outside your head. But what happens on the other side of the membrane, on the inside of your head?

Connected to the inside of your eardrum is a lever system made of tiny bones. These bones serve to transform very small movements on the surface of your eardrum to slightly larger movements inside your ear. In that respect, the bony lever system is like an amplifier.

The bony amplifier connects to a structure inside your head which resembles a snail shell. This snail shell is lined with nerve cells and is filled with fluid.

As the fluid inside this shell is agitated by the bony amplifier, it stimulates nerve cells which line the shell. The myriad of impulses received are sent along nerve fibers to your brain. Your brain then has the task of making sense of these signals.

But receiving sound is only one function of your ears. Your ears also work as a natural gyroscope system, to tell you such things as how to balance and which way is up. The way this works is that the fluid channels inside your inner ear are lined with tiny hairs (cilia), which move as you move.

The cilia are connected to nerve ends. As the hairs bend this way or that, determined by your movements and the position of your head, the nerve ends to which they are connected send signals to your brain.

The sensory impulses of balance are extremely complex, and your brain satisfactorily sorts out their meanings only after you are old enough to walk, run, and throw a ball.

Your sense of balance works hand in hand with physical coordination. For this reason it might be said that messages from your ears and messages from your muscles share the same computers in your brain.

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