The Anatomy of the Ear: An Ear Nose & Throat Doctor Explains
The primary function of your ears is to detect and transmit sounds to your brain. However, many complications can cause this sense to become impaired or even lost completely. We treat all types of hearing impairment as an Ear Nose & Throat Doctor. at The Hearing Doctors ENT Associates of South Florida we have found that some of these cases were potentially preventable, others were not.
Our hope in writing this piece is that with a better understanding of the ear’s anatomy and the causes of hearing impairment, we can help people avoid these issues. To accomplish this, we believe it’s important to have an understanding of the various parts of the outer, middle, and inner ear.
Parts of the Outer Ear
The primary parts of the outer ear include:
- Outer layer of the eardrum (tympanic membrane)
Your eardrum is a membrane located at the end of your auditory canal. It is in the beginning of your middle ear. It is exceedingly sensitive; prolonged exposure to loud noises can cause conductive hearing loss.
2. Auditory Canal
The auditory canal, commonly known as the ear canal, has a slight curve to protect the eardrum. Build-up of earwax in your auditory canal also prevents the build-up of foreign material like dust, dirt, and small insects. The ear canal not only protects the eardrum; it’s also a kind of hearing aid. Your auditory canal amplifies lower frequencies emitted by the human voice, making it easier to understand and hear an entire conversation.
3. Middle Ear
Some of the crucial parts of the middle ear are the:
The ossicles are three tiny, attached bones known as the malleus(hammer), the incus (anvil), and the stapes(stirrup). The stapes happens to be the smallest bone in the body.
5. Tympanic Cavity
The tympanic cavity surrounds the ossicles. Infections in the middle ear can cause certain types of hearing impairments if they interfere with the movement of the ossicles or the eardum.
Eardrum (details previously covered in the Outer Ear section)
6. Inner Ear
The primary parts of the inner ear are the:
The cochlea is one of the most important parts of your ear; this spiral-shaped organ transforms sounds into the signals that are sent to your brain. The cochlea is also very sensitive, and susceptible to sensorineural (nerve-related) hearing impairment.
This window connects the inner and middle ear.
These ducts, attached to nerves and the cochlea, are filled with fluid. They send information to your brain to regulate your balance and the position of your head.
Your auditory tube drains fluid from your middle ear into your throat, just behind your nose.
Treatment for Hearing Impairment
If you’re a resident of South Florida and you’re suffering from any sort of hearing loss, you shouldn’t suffer any longer; contact an Ear Nose & Throat Doctor like The Hearing Doctors ENT Associates of South Florida today.