middle ear


Definition of middle ear

: 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

Examples of middle ear in a Sentence

fluid in the middle ear
Recent Examples on the Web The middle ear bones push on the fluid inside a structure called the cochlea, and that fluid moving then drives the vibration of sensory cells called outer hair cells. Dallas News, 21 July 2021 Here’s how hearing works: Sound vibrations first hit the eardrum, which causes the three small bones in the middle ear to vibrate. Dallas News, 21 July 2021 Some of the respiratory infections that occur each winter result in bronchitis and middle ear infections. Maryn Mckenna, Wired, 26 Apr. 2021 These devices bypass the external auditory canal and middle ear and instead use a titanium prosthesis, surgically embedded into your skull. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, 4 Aug. 2020 The throat end of this tube opens when a person swallows, allowing air to be sucked in or pushed out of the middle ear so that its internal air pressure matches the outside world. The Economist, 12 Sep. 2019 In 2017 Dr Pagano suggested this could be because of the orientation of the Eustachian tube, which is located just inside the eardrum, and connects the middle ear to the back of the throat. The Economist, 12 Sep. 2019 Founded on the premise of using the body’s dormant stem cells to combat disease, Frequency has developed an experimental drug that would be injected through the eardrum into the middle ear of patients with hearing loss, a fairly routine procedure. Jonathan Saltzman, BostonGlobe.com, 23 July 2019 Potential causes of this are an underlying anatomical abnormality in the region, like a middle ear bone condition, muscle contraction, or blood vessel problem, per the Mayo Clinic. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, 30 Jan. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of middle ear

1808, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for middle ear

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The first known use of middle ear was in 1808

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Dictionary Entries Near middle ear

Middle Dutch

middle ear


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Last Updated

22 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Middle ear.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/middle%20ear. Accessed 22 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for middle ear

middle ear


English Language Learners Definition of middle ear

: the middle part of the ear that is inside the eardrum

middle ear


Medical Definition of middle ear

: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on middle ear

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about middle ear


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