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Auditory Functions of the Peripheral Hearing System and the Common Conditions Affecting Sound Conduction

Laurence Martin, Olivier Valentin


The peripheral hearing system combines mechanical and electrical transmission through the different structures of the outer, middle and inner ear. The World Health Organization estimates a prevalence of 6.1% of the world population living with a bilateral disabling hearing loss. Here, the roles of the different peripheral hearing system structures are reviewed and the most common causes of hearing loss related to mechanical transmission in the human ear are presented. Some common causes of sensorineural hearing loss are also discussed. More precisely, ear canal blockage, external ear infection (when the ear canal is blocked due to severe swelling), Eustachian tube dysfunction, serous and acute otitis, tympanic membrane perforation, cholesteatoma, ossicular chain discontinuity, otosclerosis, Meniere’s disease, presbycusis and noise-induced hearing loss are briefly presented in this paper in an attempt to highlight these problems and pathologies to the Canadian acoustical community.


hearing system, anatomy, physiology, mechanical conduction, pathologies

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