Ear Facts | In Regards to Function, Anatomy and Impairment

The facts about the ear are discussed here in terms of their uses, problems, and their functions.

Ear is one of the important sense organs of our body.

A pair of ears present on the sides of animals of most genres and species.

In some animals, ears are moveable at will, but in others, like humans, ears are not moveable.

The presence of strong muscles in the ear pinna is responsible for the movement in a few animals like mammals. However, these muscles are slightly strong enough to control movement in higher animals like men.

He instead uses hands to drive away any insects or irritation affecting the ear.

Facts about the ear

1. Bio-metric tool: The ear is one of the external tools to establish the identity of a person, like the fingerprint or iris of the eye etc. This fact was first discovered in 1893 by Bertillon. The external features of ear like ear lobes, presence of piercing, shape, etc. are used for biometric purposes. It is said to be unique in comparison to other biometric traits, due to being less affected by age, unaffected by a change in facial expressions, and also not affected by facial make-up or ornaments that can cover its appearance.Ear Facts- It can be used as a biometric tool

2.Dual function: We assume the ear is meant only for hearing. But, it has two different and essential functions in our body. The inner part of the ear has two functional parts as
a) Choclea: This helps in hearing of sound
b) Vestibular system: This helps in the balance of the body.
3. Ear wax: The ears have two glands namely the sebaceous glands and ceruminous glands in the external auditory meatus.  Sebaceous glands secrete oils while the ceruminous glands wax. These two secretions are sticky in nature and help to trap dust, insects, and bacteria that try to enter the auditory canal. These secretions along with dead epithelial cells form the ear wax. This wax can sometimes cause pain and deafness until removed mechanically or by the use of warm bicarbonate water.

4. Blood labyrinth barrier: This is the barrier similar to blood brain barrier, which separates the inner ear from systemic circulation. Due to this, drugs taken by the systemic route do not reach the inner ear leading to ineffective treatment in case of infections or diseases to the ear. Hence, ear treatment can include other routes of drug administrations.

5. Body balance:

Ear Facts in terms of anatomy
By: Chittka/ Wikimedia Commons

The inner ear vestibular system is the key to the maintenance of the balance of our body. It has 3 semi-circular canals, each helping in sensing one type of movement. The first one helps in senses up-and-down movement. The second canal helps in sensing side-ward movements. The third canal helps in sensing the tilting movements. These canals have fluid and hair cells inside. During movement, the fluid and hair cells move, and the hair cells send these signals to the brain through the acoustic nerve. Our brain uses this information to interpret where we are in space. We tend to get vomiting when this balance system is agitated or disturbed.

6. Hearing loss: With age, there is a loss of sensitivity to a higher frequency. Deafness is caused due to infections, immune disorders, ototoxicity by drugs, and antibiotics. Bacterial and viral infections are prime causes, while aminoglycoside antibiotics damage hair cells.

7. Hearing: The energy of sound waves is converted into neuronal energy, and a signal is conducted to the brain. When the sound waves reach the tympanic membrane, a series of movements is set down, which leads to waves in fluids of the cochlea. This stimulates sensory cells that send auditory stimuli to the brain.

8. Hearing frequency: Sound waves travel in the form of waves and show wave nature i.e., have both frequency and also wavelength. Human ears can hear a sound frequency in the range of 20 to 20 K hertz.

9. Ear in the fetus: A baby develops ears by the 16th week and is able to hear. The ears erect out and stand on the sides of the head at this period.

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