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Overview of the Middle Ear

by Richard T. Miyamoto, MD, MS

The middle ear consists of the eardrum (tympanic membrane) and an air-filled chamber containing a chain of three bones (ossicles) that connect the eardrum to the inner ear (see see Ears : Middle Ear). The middle ear acts as an amplifier of sound, whereas the inner ear acts as a transducer, changing mechanical sound waves into an electrical signal that is sent to the brain via the nerve of hearing (statoacoustic nerve). Middle and inner ear disorders (see Inner Ear Disorders) cause many of the same symptoms, and a disorder of the middle ear may affect the inner ear and vice versa.