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Middle ear

The middle ear is a chamber about the size of a chick-pea, which is separated from the external ear by a membraneas fine as cigarette paper. This membrane is the eardrum.

Then there are three tiny little bones called the malleus, the incus and the stapes.

When sound reaches this membrane, that is the eardrum, the membrane vibrates and causes the tiny little bones to move, thus transmitting the sound to the inner ear.

The air pressure in the inner ear is the same as the air pressure outside, which allows vibration to take place. The air enters this part of the ear through the Eustachian tubes, which connect it with the back of the nose.

Sometimes, when you yawn and hear a little pop inside your ear, it’s because the Eustachian tube has sent out a small bubble of air to equalise the pressure.

Why do our ears hurt when the aeroplane is taking off or landing?
When the air pressure in the middle ear is not the same as in the external ear, it may be slightly painful or you may not feel very well. This is what happens sometimes in aeroplanes, when they are taking off or landing, or when we climb up or down a mountain.

Why do we have wax-cerumen in our ears?
The external ear is where the earwax is made. It is made up of special chemical substances that prevent infection and help to keep the auditory canal clean.


M. Pilar Gascón. Pharmacist.