Part IV. How Sounds Travel to the Brain
Sound travels in waves into your ear through the external canal and hits the eardrum causing it to vibrate. The vibrations travel across the ossicles. The footplate of the stapes vibrates against the oval window. These vibrations create waves in the fluid that fills the ducts of the cochlea in the inner ear. The fluid pushes against the basilar membrane and moves the hair cells of the organ of corti, which slide against the tectorial membrane. The hairs bend and create impulses in the fibers that are attached to the hairs. The cochlear nerve transmits these impulses to the temporal lobe of the brain. The brain interprets the impulses as sounds.

Part V. The Bible
The study of any subject is incomplete until we have seen what the Bible says about the subject. Find some scriptures for your notebook about hearing. Attempt to explain the meaning of the scripture that says, "Having ears they do not hear." In the book of Psalms, David asks God to "give ear." What does this mean? In Proverbs, we are taught to "incline" our ears. What does God want us to listen to? What does He warn us not to listen to? In the Gospels, a disciple tried to help Jesus by cutting off a soldier's ear with a sword. Jesus restored the ear. Write a story or poem about how this might have affected the soldier.

Part VI. Field Trips
· Visit an ear doctor's office.
· Take a virtual field trip on the Internet to learn what you can about the ear and how it works.
· Visit a classroom, school or home for the hearing impaired to see how they cope with hearing loss.
· Visit a church that provides sign language for deaf members. Try to learn some signs.

Part VII. Points for Further Study
Can a deaf person drive? What sorts of jobs would be open to deaf people? How can deaf people enjoy music that they cannot hear? Can a deaf person's other senses help compensate for their hearing loss? How does hearing loss affect balance? What medications can cause hearing loss? What injuries to the ear can disrupt hearing? Are children in homes where people smoke troubled with more ear problems? How can you protect your ears?

Find out about these ear diseases: otosclerosis, otitis, Meniere's disease and Presbycusis. Compare the ears of various animals such as frogs, birds, elephants or bats. How do they differ from the human ear? Otology is the science that deals with the ear and its diseases. Audiology is the science of hearing and deals with therapy for persons who are hearing impaired. What is the difference in the sciences of audiology and otology?

As a side study of medical importance, let's consider the custom of ear piercing. Many persons have the bone and cartilage free earlobe pierced for jewelry. Is this harmful? Can infections damage the ear lobe or hearing? Now consider the piercing of the cartilage parts of the ear which is popular today. Is this piercing damaging or can it be harmful? If you know people who have pierced ears question them. Record your findings on a probability chart. Interview a doctor, if possible, about the risks and problems caused by piercing cartilage. Some African tribes have used body piercings with graduated sizes of plugs to stretch ear lobes to huge proportions. Find photos that show the strange deformations of ear shape caused by this practice.

Ears and hearing are just two of the wonderful things God created and I hope that you have found this unit study "ear- resistible"!


Elece Hollis is a freelance writer and stay-at-home mom. She and her husband Ron of 30 years have 7 children and are in their sixteenth year of homeschooling. They live east of Okmulgee, Oklahoma and south of Tulsa on a 40 acre pecan farm.

This article was originally published in the Sep/Oct '05 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. For more details, visit To request a free sample copy, visit