Hungry for some more facts? Allow us to take you to a world of 20 interesting human ear facts. From their functions to the mysteries of long ears – here we are today going to learn some fascinating facts about this very important body organ. Perhaps, some of you will already be familiar with these facts but a refresher course is always good – not just for knowledge but also for fun!
Interesting Human Ear Facts: 1-5
1. Let us start with something that everyone knows. Ears are organs designated for hearing. But, did you know that there is a limit till which ears will behave properly. The moment a sound exceeds the natural hearing limit, our ears will buzz! How about asking your friend to shout at his or her highest possible volume right into your ears? The result will be buzzzzzzzzzzzzz……
2. Did you know that our ear has 3 bones which are so small that they can be placed together on a penny? These three bones are called stapes, malleus and incus. Fancy names, huh? Well, the first fellow, i.e. stapes is the smallest of these three bones.
3. Wanna go merry-go-round for a few days? Simply damage your inner ear and voila, mission accomplished! On a serious note though, ‘merry-go-round’ in this context means losing your body’s equilibrium. Inner ear has direct connection with brain and anything happens to the inner ear means…you get it right?
4. Ever wondered why every time you catch cold, you go dumb? I mean, you lose your voice! That’s because middle ear is connected to the throat using a tube named Eustachian tube. This tube is responsible for striking equilibrium between the body pressure and the atmospheric pressure.
5. We just mentioned inner ear and middle ear. This simply means that human ear is divided into three parts – the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. Each part has separate functions. The outer ear is the visible part of the ear and its function is to direct the sound further inside. The outer ear ends where the eardrum starts.
Interesting Human Ear Facts: 6-10
6. The area after the eardrum is the middle ear which ends at what is known as oval window. This middle ear consists of the three tiny bones we mentioned earlier. The sound that enters the outer ear makes the eardrum vibrate. These vibrations are picked up by these three bones which actually form a bridge. The last bone is the stapes (in order of arrangement inside the ear). The stapes transmits the vibrations to the oval window. The middle ear is the place where the sound gets amplified.
7. Finally comes the inner ear. The sound transmitted to the oval window moves into the inner ear which is actually a network of passages and tubes. This network is often referred to as ‘labyrinth’. This inner ear has a small snail shell-like organ known as cochlea where the sound is transformed into electrical impulses. These impulses are then sent to brain’s auditory center using auditory nerves and voila! We can hear!
8. In inner ear, the sound waves moves into a liquid medium. The tiny hair cells present in inner ear react to the sound waves traveling through the liquid medium. This causes the hair cells to release chemicals that are carried by auditory nerves to the brain.
9. Did you know why we get strange feelings in ear or even go slightly deaf when we go high up on mountains? That’s because the Eustachian tube fails to maintain pressure resulting in dizziness, discomfort, ear pain etc.
10. Human ear functions even when a person sleeps. The ears will continue to pick up sound but brain blocks them out.
Interesting Human Ear Facts: 11-20
11. Human ears are self-cleaning organs. They produce what is known as ear wax. Medically, ear wax is known as cerumen which is produced by tiny pores present in ear canal. There are tiny hairs in ear canal which are known as cilia. Cilia are responsible pushing the wax out.
12. Too much of anything is not good. So, too much wax is not good either! Too much of ear wax presses against eardrum and impairs hearing abilities.
13. Did you know that ear wax, though disgusting, is very important because it protects the ear from dust and friction. Frequently cleaning ear wax can lead to deafness by damaging tympanic membrane.
14. Did you know that American Indians and Asians usually have flaky and dry ear wax whereas Africans and Caucasians have moist brown wax? Also, ear wax has been used by anthropologists to study early migratory patter of mankind!
15. In ancient China it was believed that long earlobes signify long life while thick earlobes signify wealth. No wonder we see long ears of Buddha and in images of ancient Chinese emperors. It is believed that Liu Bei, the founder of minor Han Dynasty in AD 221 had years so long that they reached his shoulders and he was capable of seeing his own ears simply by glancing back!
Interesting Human Ear Facts: 16-20
16. There are two types of earlobes – free and attached. Free earlobe is a variant where the lobe hangs freely from the head while the attached variant is joined to the head. Free variant is twice as common in humans as the attached variant.
17. Ear piercing existed back in prehistoric times. Ötzi – The Ice Mummy had both his ears pierced.
18. It was widely believed among sailors that piercing one ear will improve their vision.
19. The strongest known ears belong to Manjit Singh. This man pulled a 7.5 ton passenger airline with his ears for a distance of 13 feet. He wore ear harnesses and ropes were attached to them. These ropes were in turn attached to aircraft.
20. Humans are capable of hearing sounds as low as 20 Hz. and as high as 20,000 Hz.
Well, that concludes our list of 20 interesting human ear facts. We will create a list of facts on ‘hearing’. Stay tuned for our next post.