God’s design of the human ear – Part 1
18:15 The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. Romans 10:17
About 3.5 years ago, I noticed that my left ear sounded like it was next to a commercial air conditioner. As I listened, I realized that I had significant hearing loss in that ear. I went to a specialist who tested my hearing and I was right, about -60 on their scale. They tried a series of injections into my eardrum–that was weird– with a steroid/antibiotic and I recovered quite a bit of my hearing; I moved to a -25. Over time, I believe that I have recovered even more hearing. The doctor had described to me what he thought had happened: a virus had attacked my inner ear. I reckon he was right! I didn’t understand what he was telling me because I had no real knowledge of the ear’s workings. I do now. Let’s read about The Hearing Ear from A Guide To the Human Body pg. 33-35.
The ears can hear everything, from the faint ticking of a small watch to the roar of a jet engine, a range of volume of nearly one million to one! It is fitting that one of the most marvelous organs in the body should be used to hear the Word of God.
Most sounds are produced by something vibrating, such as vocal cords or loudspeakers. These vibrations produce compressed pulses of air molecules that bump into other air molecules, which in turn bump into others and continue in this way until they reach our ears. The ear of a young person can sense as few as 20 pulses per second (for low-pitched sounds) and as many as 20,000 pulses per second (for high-pitched sounds).
Our ears are made up of three parts: The outer ear (air), the middle ear (bone), and the inner ear (fluid). We will look at the outer ear today.
The outer ear includes the pinna [the part we see], the ear canal, and the eardrum.
[The pinna] has a complicated cup-like shape designed to catch the sound waves from the air. Having two ears helps us to detect what direction sounds come from. Not only can they detect sounds from the left or right, but our pinnae can detect sounds from front, behind, above, or below us.
The ear canal is about 1 inch long and a little over a third of an inch in diameter. It efficiently channels sound waves to the eardrum. Lining the ear canal are special glands that produce earwax (cerumen). This wax lubricates the ear canal, preventing irritation and fighting bacteria.
For most people, the ear canal is self-cleaning. Ear wax traps dust particles, which are then removed from the ear canal (along with the wax) by an amazing conveyor-belt mechanism.
The eardrum (tympanic membrane) plays the final and starring role in the outer ear. Sound waves entering the ear canal cause the eardrum to vibrate. The minute movements of the eardrum are then passed on to the small bones in the middle ear.
Tomorrow, we will look deeper into the ear, which is where it gets exciting! We learn about bones that enable us to hear: The Hammer, the Anvil, and the Stirrup.
Abba, the sense of sound is one that we take for granted. Without realizing it, we can damage our ears with loud music, constant percussive noise, and noise levels that go beyond the limits of our ears. Many times, we won’t reap the whirlwind of hearing loss until we are older. Help us to be good stewards of our bodies, Lord, beginning with our ears. Amen.