Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

The Pharmacist Answers Podcast

Your health is probably one of the most important things to you.  Yet it can be one of the most complicated things to understand.  Our bodies are meant to work a certain way, but when they don't, we may never be 100% sure why or what to do about it - even after seeing a healthcare professional.

The Pharmacist Answers Podcast is hosted by Cynthia Hendrix, PharmD.  On the Podcast, you can learn the basics of body parts and organ groups, get a glimpse of how disease processes work, and learn some practical steps to take in your own flesh and blood relationships with healthcare providers.

Everyone's health story is different.  No one is truly a "textbook case".  You need someone who sees your uniqueness and help you gain the knowledge and confidence to have conversations, ask questions, and make decisions that are right for YOU!

*The Podcast started out as live conversations on Periscope.

Subscribe to the podcast so you don't miss an episode: iTunes, Stitcher, GooglePlay, TuneIn Radio

May 1, 2017

Ear Basics

The auricle is the part of the ears you can see. It is made of cartilage (flexible tissue that doesn't have a large blood supply).  Everything else requires a tool for the doctor to see inside.  And the doctor can only see to the ear drum.  The stuff behind the ear drum isn't visible because of the membrane that blocks it.  The middle and inner ear are surrounded by your head bones.

Science of Sound

Sound is created when the air around us is compressed and then expands.  They move away from the source in circles (think radar or sonar or throwing a pebble in a pond).

The ear canal directs the sound waves towards the ear drum.

Sound gets translated in 2 main ways

  1. Identify the sound
  2. Identify if the sound has meaning

Inside Your Ears

The ear drum (tympanic membrane) vibrates according to the intensity of the sound and trigger the Hammer-Anvil-Stirrup cascade.

  • The ear drum vibrates the handle of the Hammer (Malus bone - yes, it's a real bone).
  • The Hammer bangs on the Anvil (Incus bone).  
  • The Anvil has a tail that is connected to the Stirrup (Stapes bone).
  • The Stirrup looks like the spurs on the back of boots.  It is connected to a membrane on the Cochlea and works like a plunger.

All of these bones are surrounded by air and the pressure is controlled by the Eustachian tube.  This is the access point for ear infections or congestion due to allergies or a cold.

The Cochlea is a bone full of fluid and lined with hairs and shaped like a spiraled sea shell.  The hairs pick up different frequencies of sound (sound wave frequency determines pitch).  If certain levels of hairs get damaged, then you will not be able to hear pitches in that range anymore.  If you unrolled the cochlea, it would be laid out low pitch to high pitch like a piano.  And these hairs are connected to the auditory nerves and turn sound signals into electrical signal to send it to your brain.

Semicircular canals of the cochlea are little bone chambers full of fluid and they control balance.  This works like a leveling bubble to help you stay upright.  If it becomes dysfunctional, then it may trigger vertigo.

The middle ear (the area behind the ear drum) is where most of the trouble happens - whether allergies causing stopped up ears, or colds leading to ear infections.

Connect with me

Support us on Patreon

*NEW* Join the Pharmacist Answers Podcast Community on Facebook

Subscribe: iTunesStitcherGooglePlayTuneIn Radio

Like the Facebook page

Music Credits:  “Radio Martini” Kevin MacLeod (  Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0