The Brain and Senses: Fascinating Facts... People who play a stringed instrument (like a violin or guitar) have bigger representation of their left hand (which they use to press down the strings) in the brain than their right hand. The ear isn't just about hearing - it is about balance too which is why you may feel dizzy if you get an ear infection. The balance part of your ears is connected to your eyes. When someone spins around a few times and then stop suddenly they feel dizzy - watch what happens to their eyes! Fish don't really hear but sense vibrations in the water. Owls don't have a pinna like humans, their face feathers act to funnel sound and this is why they can turn their head around so much. Bats can see where things are by using their hearing! They shout using clicking sounds and then listen for the reflection of these sounds off objects - it is called echo-location. Have you ever been on an aeroplane? Did you notice your ears pop? Normally the air pressure in the middle ear is the same as the outside world. The small bones in the middle ear let air flow into and out of the ear along the connecting tube (the eustacian tube) to the throat. When a plane takes off, the air pressure in the aeroplane cabin goes down making it lower than that in the middle ear. When a plane lands, the air pressure in the cabin goes up making it higher than in the middle ear. When you suck, chew, swallow or pinch your nose and blow, air from the outside travels along the tube to the middle ear equalising it. The equalizing of air pressure differences is what makes your ears 'pop'. You may have noticed that it's harder to pop your ears when landing - that's because the air has to flow into the ear and it's harder to get air from a large space into a small space. Why not try it with a balloon?
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