The ears are organs that enable people to hear and keep balance. The reason we hear is the sound waves present in our environment enter into our ear. They pass through the ear and cause the eardrum and three bones in the ear to vibrate. Hair cells in the canal of the inner ear vibrate. This converts the sound into electrochemical impulses. Our brain then interprets these impulses.
What do I mean by prosthetic ears? I mean hearing aids! Since devices used to improve a bodily function is considered a prosthetic device, then a hearing aide is certainly one. A hearing aid is a device that increases the loudness of sounds in the ear of the wearer. It works by converting sound into an electrical current. The current is amplified and then turned back into a louder sound.
This type of hearing aid doesn't work on everyone. Some people's deafness is caused by disease or injury. In particular cases, the hair in the ear is destroyed. To fix this problem, Dr. William House developed a cochlear implant in the sixties. The implant works when sound is bounced into a microphone which turns the sound into electrical impulses. A processor changes the electrical impulses into magnetic signals which travels to a transmitter and then to the receiver which are above the actual ear. An electrode receives the signals and then the signals stimulate nerve fibers that go directly to the brain.