Human ear is generally divided into three segments:
- The external or outer ear which is comprised of the pinna and external auditory canal.
- The middle ear which is comprised of the tympanic membrane and the middle ear bones known as the ossicles. The sounds vibrations are captured by the tympanic membrane and then transmitted to the inner ear via the three middle ear bones or ossicles: malleus or hammer, incus or anvil, and stapes or stirrup.
- Inner ear also known as the otic capsule is comprised of the cochlea, vestibule, and the semicircular canals. Cochlea is the hearing portion of the inner ear. The other components of the inner ear are responsible for balance. Vestibule houses the saccule and the utricle which are responsible for detection of acceleration and deceleration in horizontal and vertical axes. The 3 semicircular canals, which are almost perpendicular to one another, are responsible for detection of motion in 3 dimensions.
Ear conditions are organized in this website based on the location of the disease into external, middle, and inner ear disorders. These are horizontal and vertical images of the ear with the relevant structures.
Images used with permission from Robert K Jackler