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Hearing Underwater Essay

953 words - 4 pages

The human ear’s purpose is to convert sound waves into nerve impulses then the brain perceive these impulses as sound. The human ear can perceive sound in the range of 20 to 20,000 Hz. Three distinct areas in the human ear which are responsible of the auditory system process, outer ear, middle ear, and the inner ear. First, the outer ear channels transform the sound waves through the ear canal to the eardrum. The eardrum is a thin membrane stretched in the inner end of the canal. Air pressure which caused by the sound waves, cause the eardrum to vibrate. Then, these vibrations are transmitted to three small bones called (Ossicles) which located in the middle ear. Middle ear perceive ...view middle of the document...

Researchers called these higher frequencies an ultrasound. Experts still not sure about how to translate that into a practical use but their findings are shed lights to a new development of new types of hearing aid. For example, using bone conduction could help people who has an abnormalities of the outer or middle ear (Goodwin, 2011).
Many researchers believe if the bone conduction is the responsible of hearing underwater, the use of underwater earphone is just a waste of time. In 1947, Sivian suggested that a bubble of air trapped in the external ear canal would provide a high impedance to sound conduction, which, of course, would not be present if no air was so trapped. Hollen and Bradnt researched If the threshold of audibility were different under these two conditions (bubble and no bubble in the canal). As in all such experiments, the threshold measures were taken while the diver/listener held his breath, thus reducing the noise level of the medium to a minimum. Considerable bubble noise is generated when air is exhaled. During this quiet period, three or four threshold determinations could be made at each frequency. Approximately 25 min was required for each diver to complete the test. Once the molds were in place, the diver slowly lowered himself into the water with his head in an upright position. Upon being completely submerged he removed the ear molds, leaving an air bubble trapped in the meatus, and then descended to DICORS.

After the threshold testing was completed, the diver/listener ascended a few feet from DICORS to a water depth of clear visibility. He then released in turn, the trapped air bubbles by simply tilting his head. The second condition (no air bubble in the meatus) was attained by irrigating the canal with water. After the diver had descended to DICORS, an experimenter injected water heated to body temperature into each ear canal....

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