Apologies for any confusion. Let’s break down the process of hearing and sound perception step-by-step:
1. Sound Collection: The auditory process begins with the outer ear collecting sound waves from the environment. The visible part of the outer ear, called the pinna, helps to capture sound and funnel it into the ear canal.
2. Sound Amplification and Transmission: The collected sound waves then travel through the ear canal and reach the middle ear. In the middle ear, the sound waves cause the eardrum (tympanic membrane) to vibrate. These vibrations are then transferred to three tiny bones in the middle ear: the malleus, incus, and stapes (commonly referred to as the hammer, anvil, and stirrup, respectively).
3. Inner Ear and Sound Conversion: The amplified vibrations pass through the middle ear and enter the inner ear. The inner ear contains the cochlea, which is a spiral-shaped, fluid-filled structure. The vibrations in the fluid of the cochlea cause the basilar membrane to move, and as a new audition result, tiny hair cells along the membrane bend.
4. Electrical Signal Generation: As the hair cells bend, they convert mechanical vibrations into electrical signals. This process involves the release of neurotransmitters, leading to the generation of neural impulses in the auditory nerve (cochlear nerve).
5. Neural Pathway: The electrical signals are then transmitted through the auditory nerve to the brainstem and further to the auditory cortex in the brain’s temporal lobes.
6. Sound Perception: In the auditory cortex, the brain processes and interprets the electrical signals, allowing us to perceive and understand the sound information. Different regions of the auditory cortex are responsible for processing specific features of sound, such as pitch, loudness, and location.
This entire process enables us to perceive and understand the various sounds in our environment, contributing to our sense of hearing and allowing us to communicate effectively through spoken language and other auditory cues. The articulation process, on the other hand, is concerned with the production of speech sounds and involves the precise movement and coordination of the speech-related organs in the vocal tract.