Common Hearing Problems

Dr. Mark Hansen, MS, Au.D. Audiologist, discusses how the ear works and disorders of the structure of the ear.

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Dr. Mark Hansen, MS, Au.D. Audiologist, discusses how the ear works and disorders of the structure of the ear.
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Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Mark Hansen, MS, Au.D., Audiologist

Duration: 2 minutes, 13 seconds

The ear is a very complex structure.  

The ear works by having sound enter the canal, causing the eardrum, which is the beginning of the middle ear system, to vibrate back and forth. Attached to the eardrum are three ossicles, which are the smallest bones in the human body.  

They vibrate as well, which then causes a fluid within the cochlea, which is the inner ear, to produce a traveling wave which stimulates the end organ of hearing which then sends electrical impulses onto the nerve of hearing which are received by the brain.

Disorders of the ear vary by structure of the ear. The outer ear canal can sometimes collect wax, stopping sound from entering and being received by the eardrum. Some of the common conditions of the middle ear include a hole in the eardrum.  

Sometimes the middle ear bones can become disarticulated, and often there can be difficulties with the Eustachian tube, particularly in young children and older adults.  Eustachian tube disorder is typically evidenced by difficulties with equalization of middle ear pressure when we fly or when we travel over the mountains.

The disorders of the cochlea are – of the inner ear is where most hearing loss is found.  Difficulties that become apparent in the cochlea or the end organ of hearing are things such as sensorineural hearing loss, which is the most common type of hearing loss in adults.  

The vestibular system is also intimately tied with the cochlea. They share the same fluid.  Disorders of balance, therefore, can also have an impact on how we hear. The nerve of hearing and the brain when there is difficulties with either of those two, it’s a central auditory processing disorder.

So as you can see the ear is a very complex structure. If you feel that you’re having difficulties with your hearing or with your ear, you should see an audiologist.

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Presenter: Dr. Mark Hansen, Audiologist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Audiologist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.