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 This research supports the idea that the mammalian middle ear slowly evolved from the mammalian form. Paul Smaglik, Discover Magazine, 5 Apr. 2024 Injections: Getting injections of the antibiotic gentamicin into the middle ear can reduce the incidence of vertigo while preserving hearing in the ear. USA TODAY, 30 Jan. 2024 Fourteen were diagnosed with sinus infections and four had mastoiditis, an infection of the large bone behind the ear that's usually caused by middle ear infections. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, 1 June 2023 Pinching your nose might guide that pressure through the eustachian tube and into your middle ear. Health Editorial Team, Health, 10 Nov. 2023 Through painstaking investigation that included shining lasers at the eardrum and recording the light bouncing back, the team showed that the small plate transmits vibrations in the insect’s eardrum to the fluid in the tube — the same role played by the bones in our middle ear. Stephanie Pain, Discover Magazine, 7 Dec. 2018 The eustachian tube connects the back of your nose to your middle ear. Health Editorial Team, Health, 10 Nov. 2023 While there have been substantial advances in assistive technology in recent years, measures like hearing aids, cochlear implants, middle ear implants, software providing subtitle or captioning services, and alerting and telecommunication devices still fall short in various ways. Ramsha Zubairi, Smithsonian Magazine, 23 Oct. 2023 Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are also at risk for pneumonia and bronchitis, wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath, middle ear disease, ear infections and slowed lung growth. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, 8 Aug. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'middle ear.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 12 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

middle ear

: 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

: 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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