Sound is ‘collected’ by the outer ear and directed into the ear canal towards the ear drum. When this sound wave hits the ear drum, the little hearing bones are set in motion. These hearing bones then transport the sound vibration onto the oval window (the opening to the inner ear). When the oval window vibrates, the fluid in the inner ear transmits the vibrations into the snail-shaped structure (cochlea). In the cochlea, microscopic hair cells will move and bend due to the vibration and energy of sound. The bending of the hair cells will set of a nerve impulse that will continue to the hearing centres in the brain. The brain will translate and interpret the nerve impulse and sound will get meaning.
It is important to take note that a hearing loss can therefore originate in any one of the three main anatomical parts of the ear namely: the outer ear, the middle ear and/or the inner ear. If a conductive hearing loss is present, the management will usually include treatment by an Ear-, Nose-, and Throat specialist.
If the hearing loss is purely sensory-neural in nature, the management will include the provision of hearing amplification to an individual.