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Outer Ear: The Sound Funnel

Have you ever wondered how we’re able to tell where sounds are coming from? Well, it’s all thanks to our outer ear, which is designed to funnel sound waves in a way that helps us determine the direction they’re coming from!

The outer ear is made up of the pinna and the ear canal. The pinna is the part of the ear that we can see on the outside of our head, while the ear canal is the tube-like structure that leads to our eardrum.

The pinna is actually pretty amazing because it comes in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, which can influence how sound waves are collected and funneled into our ear canal. So, what does this mean for us? Well, it means that we can perceive sounds from different directions because of the way the pinna is shaped and how it guides sound waves into our ear.

As sound waves travel down the ear canal, they’re amplified and modified by the shape of the ear canal and the eardrum. This modification results in differences in sound pressure between the two ears, allowing us to tell which direction a sound is coming from. Our brains are then able to use these differences in sound pressure and timing between our two ears to determine where the sound is coming from.

This ability, known as binaural hearing, is pretty amazing because it helps us locate sounds in our environment, like the source of a fire alarm or the direction of a bird’s song. So, the next time you find yourself being able to tell where a sound is coming from, you’ll know that it’s all thanks to your incredible outer ear!

Pueblo, Colorado