middle ear

noun

: a small membrane-lined cavity that is separated from the outer ear by the tympanic membrane and that transmits sound waves from the tympanic membrane to the partition between the middle and inner ears through a chain of tiny bones

Example Sentences

fluid in the middle ear
Recent Examples on the Web However, the association says tinnitus can be a symptom of roughly 200 different health problems, including hearing loss, obstructions in the middle ear, and head and neck trauma. Christine Fernando, USA TODAY, 13 Aug. 2022 Like your sinuses, your middle ear makes mucus-y fluid to flush out debris. Julie Stewart, Men's Health, 26 July 2022 This triplet of middle ear bones gives mammals sensitive hearing compared with many other land vertebrates, especially in the high frequencies. David George Haskell, Wired, 8 Mar. 2022 The eustachian tube is about 36 mm (about 1 1/2 inches) long and connects the middle ear with the throat. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, 7 Mar. 2022 Two bones from the lower jaw migrated to the middle ear and joined the stapes, forming a chain of three bones. David George Haskell, Wired, 8 Mar. 2022 If a middle ear infection spread to the mastoid bone, the bone's honeycomb-like structure would have also filled with fluid and mucus. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 24 Feb. 2022 If the air pressure inside the middle ear is different from the outside, the eardrum will not vibrate properly and sounds appear muffled. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, 7 Mar. 2022 In a radical mastoidectomy, the surgeon will first make a cut behind the ear and then use a bone drill to open access to the middle ear cavity. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 24 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'middle ear.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1808, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of middle ear was in 1808

Dictionary Entries Near middle ear

Cite this Entry

“Middle ear.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/middle%20ear. Accessed 2 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

middle ear

noun

: a small cavity that is lined with membrane and separated from the outer ear by the eardrum and that carries sound waves from the eardrum to the inner ear through a chain of tiny bones

Medical Definition

middle ear

noun

: the intermediate portion of the ear of higher vertebrates consisting typically of a small air-filled membrane-lined chamber in the temporal bone continuous with the nasopharynx through the eustachian tube, separated from the external ear by the tympanic membrane and from the inner ear by fenestrae, and containing a chain of three ossicles that extends from the tympanic membrane to the oval window and transmits vibrations to the inner ear

called also tympanic cavity

see incus, malleus, stapes

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