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The Outer Ear

The outer ear includes:

  • auricle (cartilage covered by skin placed on opposite sides of the head)
  • auditory canal (also called the ear canal)
  • eardrum outer layer (also called the tympanic membrane)

The outer part of the ear collects sound. Sound travels through the auricle and the auditory canal, a short tube that ends at the eardrum.

The Middle Ear

The middle ear includes:

  • eardrum
  • cavity (also called the tympanic cavity)
  • ossicles (3 tiny bones that are attached)
    • malleus (or hammer) – long handle attached to the eardrum
    • incus (or anvil) – the bridge bone between the malleus and the stapes
    • stapes (or stirrup) – the footplate; the smallest bone in the body

The Inner Ear

The inner ear includes:

  • oval window – connects the middle ear with the inner ear
  • semicircular ducts – filled with fluid; attached to cochlea and nerves; send information on balance and head position to the brain
  • cochlea – spiral-shaped organ of hearing; transforms sound into signals that get sent to the brain
  • auditory tube – drains fluid from the middle ear into the throat behind the nose


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