The middle ear (Latin auris media) is a part of our auditory system that has developed from the bones of the lower jaw and provides the transformation of air vibrations into vibrations of the fluid that fills the inner ear. The main part of the middle ear is the tympanic cavity - a small space with a volume of about 1 cm³, which is located in the temporal bone. There are three ossicles here: the malleus, incus and stapes - they transmit sound vibrations from the outer ear to the inner ear, while simultaneously amplifying them.
Outer ear: 1 - skull; 2 - the auditory canal; 3 - auricle.
Middle ear: 4 - tympanic membrane; 5 - oval window; 6 - hammer; 7 - anvil; 8 - stirrup.
Inner ear: 9 - semicircular canals; 10 - snail; 11 - nerves; 12 - eustachian tube.
The auditory bones, like the smallest fragments of the human skeleton, represent a chain that transmits vibrations. The handle of the malleus is closely fused with the tympanic membrane, the head of the malleus is connected to the incus, and that, in turn, with its long process, is connected to the stapes. The base of the stapes closes the vestibule window, thus connecting to the inner ear.
The middle ear cavity is connected to the nasopharynx by means of the Eustachian tube, through which the average air pressure inside and outside of the eardrum is equalized. When the external pressure changes, sometimes the ears "block", which is usually solved by the fact that yawning is reflexively caused. Experience shows that ear congestion is even more effectively resolved by swallowing or blowing into a pinched nose.
Since the middle ear is connected to the nasopharynx, it often becomes inflamed during a cold. The inflamed Eustachian tube, which connects the ear to the nasopharynx, prevents this pus from coming out freely. It builds up and starts to press on the eardrum, which causes severe pain. Children develop the disease faster because their Eustachian tubes are much shorter than in adults and are located more horizontally.