Discover all parts and functions of our auditory system.
The anatomy of the ear is central to the process of hearing. Miracle-Ear examines both the parts of the ear and how they turn vibrations in the air into something your brain can process as sound. We take the mystery out of ear anatomy to give you a better understanding of how your body senses and interprets the world around you.
The outer ear, sometimes known as the external ear or auris externa, is the outermost portion of the ear’s anatomy. This anatomical structure is comprised of the pinna, the ear canal and the ear drum. Its primary purpose is to gather sound waves from the environment, concentrate them and direct them towards the more internal portions of the ear.
The middle ear is the portion of the ear between the ear drum and the oval window. It contains three bones, collectively the ossicles, which transfer vibrations from the ear drum into the inner ear in the form of compression waves. These bones are known commonly as the hammer, anvil and stirrup. The hollow space around the ossicles is the tympanic cavity. The whole structure is surrounded and protected by the tympanic portion of the temporal bone of the skull.
The inner ear, sometimes known as the internal ear or auris interna, is the innermost portion of the ear. It consists mainly of the oval window, the cochlea, the semicircular canals and a portion of the auditory nerve. The inner ear also contains a central component to one's sense of balance, the vestibular system.
The most common category of hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), occurs when there is a problem or damage to part(s) of the inner ear, typically the cochlea or the auditory nerve. While SNHL is usually permanent, wearing hearing aids can help mitigate the effects.