What if the three small adjoining ear bones (hammer, anvil and stirrup, or also known as malleus, incus, and stapes) are replaced by one large device/thing/bone? Would there be a difference? If so, how and why?
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I thought it might be because the three small bones could amplify sound better than one large device. But I'm not too sure....so please share your views/opinions/knowledge.
Thats what i understood by it, they vibrate and help with the amplifications, also helps with balance
well, define "device" ^.^ with certain devices, everything is possible. :-)
now, I don't entirely understand what you mean by amplification, because the apparatus does not do physical amplification, afaik. but: it diminishes larger vibrations of the eardrum! and this could not be achieved by one single bone.
birds and fish mostly have that single bone to fulfill that purpose. but they also don't have ears as good as ours. theirs are mostly to retain balance in the water, and to get rudimentary sonar signals.
difference: most certainly a more rustical sound experience. but the calculation of the sounds we hear happens way after that. first, the signals are transformed into nerve impulses through hair cells and sent to the brain. the amplification happens with the tranformation:
the intensity of the electric signal is proportional to the logarithm of the physical signal intensity (sound). are you still with me? =)
amplification of signals happens this way in many party of our body (hot/cold sense, taste, ...) this is why the dB scale is also logarithmic! wouldn't make sense otherwise.
bad hearing comes from a loss of mentioned hair cells in the middle ear as you age.