Why Your Ears Are Crinkled
STUDENTS of human hearing once thought that man’s external ears were merely crinkly decorations on his head. They felt that such served no useful purpose except to act as rather inefficient ear trumpets. But Dr. Dwight Batteau, of United Research, Inc., in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has found that your external ears are crinkled to serve a very useful purpose. Those curves, hills and gullies of your ears all help you to determine from which direction a sound is coming and even the approximate distance of its source. Here is how it is believed that they do this:
The complex channels or convolutions, yes, those crinkles, of your ears add a slight, reflected sound or echo to any sound that you hear. This slight, added echo will vary with the different angles from which sounds originate. For example, if you hear a sound above you, the tiny echo added by your ears’ crinkles will differ from the one that they add to a sound coming from below you or to one from behind you.
Now, this minute echo will enter your ear a fraction of a second after the main sound does. Then that part of your brain that cares for your hearing will analyze this main sound and its accompanying delayed echo. And by this analysis you are immediately aware of the direction from which the sound came. So quickly does all this take place that you are not even conscious of it. Further, when you hear a sound coming from your right, then your right ear hears it just before your left ear does and vice versa. This too plays a part in your ability to know the direction from which a sound originates.
So even with your eyes closed you can tell if a sound came from behind you or from your right or from your left or from above you. Yes, those crinkles in your ears add a sense of direction to your hearing and this adds to the pleasure of living. With it you know where to look when you hear the lovely song of a bird perched in some tree or the knocking of a woodpecker searching for grubs. It enhances listening to music stereophonically reproduced. You can delight in hearing the silky sound of violins from one speaker and the flourish of trumpets from the other.
Yes, your ears are crinkled to enhance your enjoyment of life. Who made them? The Holy Bible, at Proverbs 20:12, tells us ‘that Jehovah God is the one who made the hearing ear.’ Let all thank and praise him for this marvelous gift!