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Overview of the Middle Ear

By

Richard T. Miyamoto

, MD, MS, Indiana University School of Medicine

Last full review/revision Jun 2020| Content last modified Jun 2020
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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 acts as an amplifier of sound, whereas the inner ear acts as a transducer, changing mechanical sound waves into an electrical signal that is sent to the brain via the nerve of hearing (statoacoustic nerve).

Middle ear disorders may occur because of

Doctors base the diagnosis on people's symptoms and the physical examination. Doctors examine the ear canal and eardrum with an otoscope and often do hearing tests Testing Worldwide, about half a billion people (almost 8% of the world's population) have hearing loss. More than 10% 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

The middle ear consists of the eardrum, an air-filled chamber containing a chain of three tiny bones (malleus, incus, stapes), and the entrance to the eustachian tube. The middle ear transfers vibrations from the eardrum to the inner ear through the oval window, which helps to change them into sound.

Inside the Ear
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Throat
Which structure found along the sides of the throat (towards the back of the mouth) helps prevent infection? 
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