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Overview of the Middle Ear

By

Taha A. Jan

, MD, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Reviewed/Revised Jan 2024
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The middle ear consists of the eardrum (tympanic membrane) and an air-filled chamber containing a chain of three bones (ossicles) that connect the eardrum to the inner ear (see Middle Ear Middle Ear The ear, which is the organ of hearing and balance, consists of the outer, middle, and inner ear. The outer, middle, and inner ear function together to convert sound waves into nerve impulses... read more ). The middle ear amplifies sound, whereas the inner ear changes mechanical sound waves into an electrical signal that is sent to the brain via the nerve of hearing (vestibulocochlear or auditory nerve).

The Ears
VIDEO

Middle ear disorders may occur because of

Doctors usually base the diagnosis on people's symptoms and the physical examination. Doctors examine the ear canal and eardrum with an otoscope (a handheld light used to look at the ear canal and eardrum) and often do hearing tests Testing Worldwide, about half a billion people (almost 8% of the world's population) have hearing loss. More than 15% of people in the United States have some degree of hearing loss that affects their... read more Testing . Doctors also examine the nose and upper and middle parts of the throat for infections, allergies, and tumors.

A Look Inside the Ear

Inside the Ear
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