Yorkshire Auditory Implant Service

How We Hear

The ear is made up of three parts:

The outer ear collects the sounds and sends them through the ear canal towards the ear drum.

The middle ear is made up of the ear drum and a chain of tiny bones (ossicles).  It moves the sound energy into the fluid filled inner ear.


Did you know the ossicles are the smallest bones in the body?


The inner ear is called the cochlea.  The movement of the fluid inside the cochlea stimulates hair cells.  The movement of the hair cells sends a signal to the nerve of hearing (auditory nerve).  This nerve sends the signal to the brain.

Children and adults who are assessed for a cochlear implant will usually have damaged hair cells in the cochlea. The cochlear implant stimulates the nerve fibres in the cochlea and by-passes the outer and middle ear and damaged hair cells.

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