The screenshot of video illustrating how sounds travel from the ear to the brain, where they are interpreted and understood.

Have you ever wondered how sound waves turn into the familiar sounds we hear and recognize every day? The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), which developed Noisy Planet, has produced a two-and-a-half-minute animated video, Journey of Sound to the Brain, that follows sound waves as they pass through the ear canal and are changed to electrical signals that our brains interpret and understand. The video teaches viewers about the parts of the inner ear and how each part helps us understand and communicate with the world around us.

Perfect for viewing at home or in the classroom, the video can help you begin a conversation with your children or students about how our hearing works and why it’s so important that we protect it. The video is part of the presentation included our Teacher Toolkit, an easy-to-use online resource to help teach children in grades 2 through 6 about the causes and prevention of noise-induced hearing loss. This science-based classroom presentation explains what sound is, how sound travels through the ear, how loud sounds can damage hearing over time, and how to protect your hearing.

The video premiered during a Noisy Planet presentation at Westbrook Elementary School, in Bethesda, Maryland, to a group of engaged fourth graders. After students acted out the sequence of events involved in hearing, they attentively watched the animated version of what they just acted out. The students laughed and danced in their seats to the sounds of the trumpet and other instruments, reporting that they liked the video and learned from it.

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