What are the different parts of the ear?

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David M. Vernick, MD
Ear, Nose & Throat (Otolaryngology)
The outer ear consists of the parts you can see: the fleshy outer part (called the auricle), the ear canal, and the eardrum. The middle ear is separated from the outer ear by the eardrum, the thin membrane stretched tightly across the ear canal. The middle ear is an air-filled cavity containing the ossicles, three small bones (malleus, incus, and stapes) that transmit vibrations to the inner ear.

The inner ear is a complex system of membranous canals protected by a bony casing. Inside, the spiral-shaped cochlea contains the hair cells that transmit sound to the auditory nerve, which conducts sound to the brain.

The vestibular system, which regulates balance, is also part of the inner ear and includes 5 balance organs -- the three semicircular canals and the utricle and saccule. Together they are known as the labyrinth.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.