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Why Our Ears Are Shaped This Way, A Science Project For The Kids

Why Our Ears Are Shaped This Way, A Science Project For The Kids

It may be summer break, but it is never a wrong time for learning something new. Beat the heat with this fun science project that will show your kids how ears are formed, and why our own have evolved to operate and look the way they do.

Ears, Big and Small

The size of our ears are a big factor in how well we can hear the world around us. Look at the difference in ear size and shape in different animals. A bat, which has ears several times larger than their head, uses that size and the unique shape to capture and interpret sound waves. This helps them to see, even when they are blind.

Various species of dog have different sized ears, though each are fairly large. A hound, for example, may be able to pick up certain sounds better than a pit bull, because their ears are larger and shaped differently. That is one of the many reasons they make effective hunting dogs.

Like other animals, we are also affected by the size of our ears. We can pick up on many sounds, but far less effectively than other species can. Sometimes we can hear a sound far off, like a siren, because it is high pitched and easier to pick up. But we wouldn’t hear a car backfiring from the same distance away, thanks to the lower tone. A dog (or a bat) might be able to hear both.

Our Special Ears

Human ears are amazing things. They have evolved over millions of years to help us most in our environment. Inside of the ear we have several chambers, which allow sound to travel and vibrate against delicate bones. The brain then interprets those sounds, so we understand them.

But that isn’t all; the outside of the ear that curves forward is a special kind of funnel called the pinnae. These help to amplify the sound as it enters the ear canal, and filters out surrounding background noise that may not be as beneficial for us to hear. So the noise of a busy street won’t be picked up as clearly as the sound of another person’s voice.

Neat, huh!

Hearing Aids

In some situations human beings lost their ability to hear. When that happens we use hearing aids, which amplify sound. That isn’t the only way we can use aids, however. We can make our own hearing aids to help us hear a little more like those lucky animals with their impressive ears!

Materials

  • Construction or heavy paper
  • Safety scissors
  • Glue or tape

Different shapes will change the sound that comes from your hearing aids. Try making several sets, based on different ear shapes. For instance, a long, cone shape could be one set, and a flat, open shape could be another. One would represent bat ears, the second elephant ears.

Once you have created your different ear shapes and sizes, try using them on different sounds. Take them outside and see what you can hear. Turn on some music and see how well you can hear in the same room, a different room, or even across the house.

Learn more at HearingDoctors.net.

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