Five senses- hearing

Hearing

How do our ears work?

The large flap on the outside of your ear catches noise and directs it into your ear canal and on to the eardrum. Behind your ear drum are ossicles (three small bones) followed by the cochlea. The cochlea is shaped like a snail, filled with liquid and lined with hair-like particles. Our ears allow us to hear sounds through vibrations. Vibrations cause sound waves. These are funnelled from the ear flap to the ear canal, the eardrum, into the ossicles in the middle ear, and finally into the cochlea. The hairs in the cochlea are stimulated by the vibrations and send the sound signal to your brain for interpretation. Is the sound alerting us to something dangerous or important, like a fire alarm or a honking car horn?  Is the sound quiet and calming, like classical music or the whirring of a fan? What is going on around us? What should we do next?

Fun fact- your ear contains the three smallest bones in your body; the malleus, incus and stapes but are better known as the hammer, anvil and stirrup because of their shape.

Related activities-

  • Sound walk- go for a walk in your local area and discuss the different sounds you can hear
  • Paint to music- have a mix of dance/up beat and chilled out music, paint to the tempo of the music
  • Predict from four items what would make the loudest or softest noise if you skate it/tap it
  • Sound bingo- https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=h0Kp_J9kvNM
  • Take a sound trip around the body: Listen to the sounds of the body, heart beating, lungs breathing etc. 
  • Using jars filled with water of different levels, listen to the sound each jar makes by running a wet finger round the top
  • Make a rain stick using a kitchen roll tube, card/paper, rice/lentils and kitchen foil. Firstly decorate the tube then cut two circles of card/paper slightly bigger than the circumference of the tube. Snip the circles as in the picture and attach one to the end the tube. Then roll and twist the foil and put inside along with the rice and seal the other end.

  • Play Simon says, musical statues, musical chairs
  • Place various items in sealed containers, ask your child to shake them and ask what it could be
  • Help your child understand that we hear sound through vibrations
    • a musical triangle works best but if you don’t have one you could hang a metal fork or spoon from a piece of string. Hit the triangle with a metal beater and listen to the sound made through the vibration, then do it again but this time ask your child to catch the triangle. It stops the vibrations and, therefore, the sound.
    • another fun activity if you happen to have a drum or bongo drum in the house is to place some rice on top then scream as loud as you can and watch the rice jump around due to the vibrations. Try experimenting by putting cling film or kitchen foil on top of a large mixing bowl and please let us know if it works.

Remember you can share any fun activities with us on our twitter page.

Have fun and take care,

Eilidh x