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Sounds are formed any time an object creates vibrations. These vibrations travel through the air, just as ripples travel across water. Hearing begins when the vibrations reach the outer ear, which functions as a funnel, collecting these sound vibrations and directing them toward the eardrum. As sound vibrations are picked up by the ear drum, they are transferred to a series of three tiny bones in the middle ear.
These bones further amplify the vibrations of the eardrum, and transfer them to a sensory organ in the inner ear, called the cochlea. The inside of the cochlea is filled with fluid, and lined with tens of thousands of tiny hair cells. As vibrations pass through the fluid, it causes movement of these hair cells. This motion causes electrical signals to be sent along a specialized nerve, which are then processed into the sounds we hear.