Speaking and Hearing
The pulses created in the air by a sounding body are received by the ear and the impulses which they impart to the auditory nerve pass to the brain and we become conscious of a sound. The ear is capable of marvelous discrimination and accuracy. "In order to form an idea of the extent of this power imagine an auditor in a large music hall where a full band and chorus are performing. Here, there are sounds mingled together of all varieties of pitch, loudness, and quality; stringed instruments, wood instruments, brass instruments, and voices, of many different kinds. And in addition to these there may be all sorts of accidental and irregular sounds and noises, such as the trampling and shuffling of feet, the hum of voices, the rustle of dress, the creaking of doors, and many others. Now it must be remembered that the only means the ear has of becoming aware of these simultaneous sounds is by the condensations and rarefactions which reach it; and yet when the sound wave meets the nerves, the nerves single out each individual element, and convey to the mind of the hearer, not only the tones and notes of every instrument in the orchestra, but the character of every accidental noise; and almost as distinctly as if each single tone or noise were heard alone." - POLE.
FIG. - The ear.