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4/24/2018

9 Surprising Ear Facts

The ear and all of its components are tiny, but they’re also really complicated. From common superstitions about ears to understanding the parts and processes involved in keeping your ears healthy, check out these 9 factoids about ears.

Fact 1: The superstitions around ears transcend time and culture. You may have wondered by pirates (or sailors) are depicted with one earring. It’s not out of a movie, but rather a superstition of sailors in the middle ages who believed a single ear piercing provided improved vision. Piercings have been observed throughout ancient civilizations and could represent anything from a status symbol to a demon-repellant.

Fact 2: Lost your voice? It might be your ears. If you’ve caught a cold and it’s congesting your Eustachian tube (the tube connecting your ears to your throat), this can result in losing your voice.

Fact 3: Ears are self-cleaning. While we all have likely reached for a cotton swab at some point, it’s best to stick to just cleaning the outer parts of your ears. Why? Because your ears are naturally self-cleaning in their production of wax (cerumen). The wax captures dirt and gets pushed out, protecting your inner ear in the process.

Fact 4: Ear wax can vary based on your ancestry (namely, the different regions and climates where people lived). Scientists have used ear wax to study migratory patterns of ancient civilizations because wax tends to fossilize well.

Fact 5: You’ve got a lot in common with a chinchilla. Namely, that humans and chinchillas have a similar range of hearing–from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz.

Fact 6: What do the shape of your ears mean? In ancient Chinese culture, it was believed that long earlobes meant someone would have a long life and thick lobes foreshadowed wealth. In other eras, people who had attached earlobes (versus free lobes) were thought to be witches or possessed by the supernatural. Keep in mind; free lobes are much more common than attached lobes.

Fact 7: Your ears are truly multi-purpose. The outer ear is what directs sound into your middle ear; the middle ear helps to transmit vibrations to your auditory nervous complex so that you can understand them; the inner ear manages your equilibrium or balance.

Fact 8: The ears contain the smallest bones in your body. They’re the incus, the malleus, and the stapes–all of which respond to sound by gently pounding on your eardrum.

Fact 9: Your inner ear is tiny, yet complex. It contains the cochlea, which is shaped like a conch shell and contains fluid that maintains your equilibrium. The teeny tiny hairs that line your inner ear react to sound waves in the fluid, which helps you to get (or regain) your bearings.

Want to know more about your ears or book a hearing assessment? Contact our team today on 970-352-2881, or click here to request an appointment.

We are hearing experts.

Robert M. Traynor, Ed.D. MBA is the owner and senior audiologist on staff. Dr. Traynor has treated patients in Greeley for more than 40 years and is a widely published expert, audiology professor, and advisor to many leading hearing companies. Learn more about Dr. Traynor.