Parts of the Ear
The ear has three parts: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. A hearing loss can happen when any of these parts are not working in the usual way.
Pinna: (Auricle) This is the part of the ear that we see on each side of our heads. It is a part of the outer ear. The pinna collects sound and sends it down the ear canal to the rest of the ear.
Outer Ear: The outer ear is made up of the parts we see (pinna), the ear canal, and eardrum (tympanic membrane).
Inner Ear: The inner ear is made up of the snail shaped organ for hearing (called the cochlea) and the nerves that go to the brain.
Cochlea: The cochlea is in the inner ear. It's a snail-shaped tube that is filled with fluid and has tiny hair cells. Sound that comes into the cochlea moves the hair cells back and forth. This turns sounds into electrical signals that are sent to the brain through the auditory (hearing) nerve.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
Hearing Loss Team
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30333
TTY: (888) 232-6348
- Contact CDC-INFO