Ear Disorders

The ear consists of three parts: the external, middle, and inner ear. The external ear consists of the pinna and the external auditory canal that transmits sound to the middle ear. The middle ear has an air-filled cavity that contains auditory ossicles, which are the malleus, incus, and stapes. The auditory ossicles forward the sound to the inner ear where the eardrum is located. Pressure on both sides of the eardrum is equalized by the eustachian tube that connects to the nasopharynx. The eardrum could rupture if pressure becomes unequal. The inner ear also contains a series of canals called the labyrinths that are made up of the vestibule, cochlea, and semicircular canals. The vestibule maintains equilibrium and balance and the cochlea is the principal hearing organ.

Common ear disorders are cerumen (ear wax) impaction, otitis external, otitis media (infections of the external and middle ear), and vestibular disorders of the inner ear.

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