To understand how your hearing works, the first thing you need to know is that sound is simply vibrations that travel through the air.
When someone speaks to you, a bird sings, music plays or the telephone rings, vibrations are created and sent through the air. These are known as sound waves.
Almost all sound waves are unique, which is why each person, music, animals and things sound different. The simple explanation is that sounds waves come in different forms; some are high pitched, others low pitched, some loud and some soft.
When our ears capture sound waves, they translate them into messages our brains can understand. How well these sound waves are captured and how well they are transmitted and sent to our brain all depends on how well our ears are working.
To understand how our ears work, here is a quick biology lesson:
There are three parts to the ear:
The mechanics of Hearing:
Image courtesy of Cochlear, Australia.
Click here to see an animation produced by the American FDA demonstrating how hearing works