I am going to hazard a guess that you probably don’t spend too much time thinking about your hearing.
We have these things attached to the sides of our head that do a rather good job of picking up sound so we can hear what is happening around us. Unless you have a bad ear infection, or your ear happens to become blocked with wax (thereby impeding those things on the side of your head from doing their rather-good-job), like most of us you probably don’t give your hearing another thought.
Yet I challenge you to see your hearing in a new light. More than just our ears, our hearing is an incredibly beautiful and complex mechanism that affects our lives in many ways.
Perfect by design, our ears are the exact right shape to help us focus on sounds coming from in front of us and to funnel those sound waves (vibrations) down into our ear canal where they hit the thin membrane of our ear drum – just like a drum.
Because the sound waves need to be converted from air to cochlear fluid, our middle ear flawlessly increases the pressure and force by the precise amount needed to achieve this. Once inside the cochlea, tiny little hair cells convert these vibrations to electrical impulses that are sent up to the brain along the cochlear (or auditory) nerve. The brain then processes and applies meaning to these sounds.
Our hearing enables us to connect and engage with our environment. Think of a walk in nature – the sound of insects, birdsong, rustling leaves. These sounds add immense pleasure and richness to the experience.
Our hearing helps us remain connected to the people we love as we can fully engage in deep, meaningful conversations with family and friends, hear the jokes, join in the laughter, follow the thread.
It allows us to get lost in music, to experience art or engage in political discussions.
Our hearing is intricately tied to the way we feel and how we interpret the world around us. Ponder the magic of this – your hearing allows you to absorb the words and emotions of another human and, based on the meaning you apply to those words, can change your entire emotional state or your belief system!
Our hearing truly is precious and, for those of us lucky enough to be born with working ears, we should work very hard to protect it.