Differences between Outer Ear, Middle Ear, Inner Ear

What are the different functions that the Outer Ear, Middle Ear, and Inner ear each do?

Your outer ear consists of the pinna (what’s outside the head) and the ear canal (until you get to the ear drum). The middle ear starts at the eardrum and continues through the three bones of your inner ear (hammer, anvil, and stirrup) which touch on the cochlea. The cochlea begins your inner ear and contains the basilar membrane (with little hairs on it) where transduction occurs. The neural signal is then sent up the auditory nerve to the thalamus.

Hey! I’ll try and break it down a little! So basically…

  • Outer Ear: Collects and sends sounds to the eardrum.
  • Middle Ear: Chamber between eardrum and cochlea containing three tiny bones (hammer, anvil, stirrup) that concentrate the vibrations of the eardrum on the cochlea’s oval window.
  • Inner Ear: Innermost part of the ear, containing the cochlea, semicircular canals, and vestibular sacs.
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