You are on page 1of 1

It all starts when acoustic energy enters into the pinna.

The energy then travels into the external auditory meatus- first the lateral 1/3 of the tube, which is cartilaginous portion then through the medial 2/3, which is the osseous portion. The energy gets to the tympanic membrane, or ear drum, where the energy is converted from acoustic to mechanical energy. In anticipation for the impedance which will occur in the inner ear lymphatic liquids, three actions happen to overcome the 30 dB loss. The first is the condensation effect, meaning that because the tympanic membrane is 17x the size of the footplate of the stapes, there is a more focused force through the ossicles. This causes a 24.6 dB gain. Then the curved membrane buckling occurs, meaning that because the umbo of the tympanic membrane is more taught than the surrounding portions of the tympanic membrane, the energy is more concentrated through the umbo, which causes a 4 dB gain. The third action, the middle ear lever action, occurs in the ossicles. Because the manubrium of the malleus is 3 times the length of the incus, the energy has a 2 dB gain. The footplate of the stapes pushes the oval window causing the perilymph in the scala vestibuli to flow like a wave (dip, rise, crash down, flatten). In the scala media the endolymph and the bassilar membrane move because of the (vibrations traveling through the perilymph in the vestibule) perilymph. Because of the vibration of the basilar membrane, a shearing action of the outer hair cells occur (they move side to side). The inner hair cells are knocked down by the turbulent endolymph flowing through the small space (the bernoulli effect). The inner hair cells are excited and because of the resting potentials, chemicals are released for creating electrical energy flow. The organ of corti anticipates this change: this is the whole nerve action potential. It warns that the signal is coming. The summating potential and the cochlear microphonic are the changes in the baseline of the electrical potential. The summating potential is the direct current shift that moves in one direction depending on ion flow, either positive or negative. Simultaneously, the cochlear microphonic is happening; it is an alternating current meaning that the current alternates between positive and negative. These currents duration are the same as the duration of the stimulus. This information is sent to the cochlea via the cochlear nerve. From the cochlea, the vestibular and cochlear nerve join to become to vestibulocohlear nerve VIII, or the auditory nerve. At the cochlear nucleus, decussation occurs, which means that 80% of the nerve signals crossover to the opposite side superior olivary complex and 20% stay on the same side superior olivary complex. This helps us to localize sound. From the superior olivary complex, the signal goes to the inferior colliculus in the midbrain, which senses the amplitude. They then travel to the medial geniculate body to integrate the localization and the amplitude to start moving towards a response, if one is needed. Lastly, the signal travels to the auditory cortex of the temporal lobe where it is processed, perceived, and made into meaningful sense to be interpreted.