When something makes a noise, it sends vibrations, or sound waves, through the air.
When the vibrations hit your eardrum, a chain reaction is set off.
Your eardrum sends the vibrations to the three smallest bones in your body, called ossicles.
First the malleus (hammer), then the incus (anvil), and finally, the stapes (stirrup) convert the sound waves to mechanical waves.
The stapes passes those vibrations along a coiled tube in the inner ear called the cochlea.
The cochlea is the snail-shaped organ in the inner ear which, not only enables us to hear, but helps us to listen and to perceive what we hear.
If the outer ear or the middle ear is clogged with fluid, ear wax or infection, the cochlea does not perform optimally and hearing loss may occur.
The cochlea converts the mechanical waves into an electrical signal, which travels to the brain where you really hear.
New research offers hope to adapt the brain's response to sound. Hearing therapy is an option in combination with hearing aids.