The sound wave travels in air and enters the external auditory canal. It vibrates the tympanic membrane. These vibrations are amplified by the three ossicles (Malleus, Incus, & Stapes)and transmitted to Cochlea through the Oval window. This creates Vibrations in the scala vestibuli in inner ear, which are transmitted across to scala tympani and thereby vibrate the organ of corti. This causes the stretching of hair cells in organ of corti, leading to generation of action potential in Auditory nerve which in turn stimulates the auditory cortex in brain thereby generation the sensation of sound. This sense of hearing allows us to communicate, appreciate the sounds of nature, appreciate the music and even identify and avert dangers. Hearing impairment can result from a wide range of causes ranging from simple wax blocking the external ear, to perforation of tympanic membrane (ear drum), to damage to the 3 small bones in the middle ear, to disorders of cochlea and the 8th cranial nerve.Further, hearing impairment may occur secondarily to conditions affecting the nose, paranasal sinuses and nasopharynx like Allergic rhinitis, Sinusitis, Adenoiditis, Nasopharyngeal tumours etc.
A normal external auditory canal with a normal tympanic membrane is essential for good hearing.
Acute otitis media is a very common cause of ear pain and hearing loss in children.
Chronic suppurative otitis media is one the very common conditions leading to hearing loss.
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