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Critical Listening Skills for Audio Professionals by F. Alton Everest

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The Function of the Inner Ear

Sound waves entering the auditory canal are acoustical in nature. The actuation of the eardrum by this airborne wave sets the ossicles in motion, which in turn, move the oval window of the cochlea. The sound is now in mechanical form. As the oval window moves, it pushes against the fluid of the inner ear. Because this fluid is essentially incompressible, something has to give if the oval window is to move at all. This “give” takes place at the round window (see Fig. 7). When the oval window moves inward, the round window moves outward. As we shall see, this sets up orderly disturbances in the fluid, which through the hair cells, are translated to electrical currents and transmitted to the brain through neural impulses. ...

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