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The middle ear

The sound is transferred through the tympanic membrane into the middle ear. The sound pressure affects the tympanic membrane and starts a mechanical movement of the ossicular chain leading the sound waves on to the oval window and the inner ear.

The main function of the middle ear and the ossicular chain is to compensate for the impedance difference between the air in the auditory meatus and the fluid in the cochlea of the inner ear, to minimise the energy loss, and to apply the force on the oval window only.

The mobility of the tympanic membrane is optimal if the air pressure is equal on both sides. To provide a ventilation mechanism for the middle ear the eustachian tube connects the middle ear to the nasal cavity. By opening the eustachian tube, the air pressure in the middle ear is equalised to the air pressure in the nose.

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Magnus Johansson, Peltor AB


  How does sound occur
  The auditory system 
  The outer ear 
  The middle ear
  The inner ear
  Exposure to noise 
  Hearing impairment
  The concept of equal energy
  How to measure noise levels
  Choose right hearing protection
  Do not over attenuate
  Noise regulations