I saw my neighbor on the street yesterday. She said “hello” and I said “hello.” No big deal? Wrong. Hello is a simple word and most of us say it and hear it many times each day. Yet each and every time, those two syllables—or even a simple “beep”—set off a process inside the skull as complicated and remarkable in its sequencing and precision as a Beethoven symphony.
IN THE EAR
The design of the human ear may not be streamlined, but it is effective, transforming sound waves into electrical signals the brain can understand. It is also particularly well suited to the human voice; our keenest hearing is usually in the range required to hear speech.