Friday, September 6, 2013

How do we hear? The age old mystery EXPLAINED. :)

Ho do we hear? If you Google it, you get long, drawn out answers almost as confusing as the question. So I've attempted to explain this mystery, easily and painless. I want to be an ENT surgeon, and this was excellent preparation. So, how do we hear?
The answer is simple: sound waves. Sound waves are caused by vibrations. When you hit a cymbal, it vibrates, right?
Well those vibrations cause the little particles of air floating by to vibrate, too. These air molecules vibrate, and the sound waves are carried on the air molecules. There's no sound in outer space because there's no air! That's also why the only life from that could survive in space is the balloon aliens.

Think about it this way- when you drop a stick or stone into a body of water, it makes ripples, and those ripples move outward. They're always getting bigger. Sound waves do the exact same thing. The air carrying the sound waves moves closer until it hits the sensitive part of your ear, and it vibrates all the way to your eardrum. This helps you distinguish differences in sounds. The little bones in your ear move the vibrations to your nerves, which sends the messages to your brain.

But now we come to a complex question.

What's a sound wave?
 They're actually two things- compression and refraction. Compression is the part of the wave that gathers the air molecules and COMPRESSES them. Refraction pushes the molecules away. So sound waves are constantly compressing and refracting. They can travel through liquids, solids, and gas. Interesting fact- they travel through water faster than air, and even faster in solids like stone or iron.
Cool, huh?
Well, I hope this made it all little easier to understand!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Laura Ashley,
    I've been reading your blog for a while, and I really think it's great. I recently started my own. If it's not too much to ask, could you write a post promoting my blog? My URL is:


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