There's a DAC in my head and ears are digital.
Sound waves enter the ear canal and make the eardrum vibrate. This action moves the tiny chain of bones in the middle ear. The last bone in this chain ‘knocks’ on the membrane window of the cochlea and makes the fluid in the cochlea move. The fluid movement then triggers a response in the hearing nerve.
This sounds very digital to me, a conversion of analog sound pressure waves into another form.
And if that's even remotely true then our brains act more like D/A converters than anything else.
But whatever the mechanisms in play, there are two distinct pieces of kit involved in hearing. The ear and the brain.
It's an easy mistake to think of hearing through only the outer ear mechanism when it is the brain that is the real champ in this combo. That's an important distinction.
The DAC and processor in our heads are what distinguishes human auditory perception from weak attempts at duplication by measurementists.
And it's why even those with "broken" ears are excellent at perceiving the tiniest of errors in reproduced sound.
Try that with a broken microphone.