The human body is much more complex than we can think at first, and a good example of this is found in certain organs that are highly complex both in their conformation and in their functions. This is what happens with the ear, a part of the human body made up of different elements that, in addition to making it possible to hear and perceive sounds, also play a fundamental role in maintaining balance.
One of the most interesting aspects of the ear is found in the so-called ear bones, which are responsible for transmitting vibrations to the inner ear and which, in addition, have the characteristic of being the smallest bones in the human body. If you want to know which are the bones of the ears and know many other curiosities of this part of the body, keep reading and we will tell you.
How is the ear made?
One could speak of the ear as the system that allows us to capture external vibrations and transform them into signals that can be interpreted by our brain. That is, it is the part of the body that allows us to hear. It is a fairly complex system, which has evolved over millions of years to become what it is today. The ear can be divided into three parts: outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear.
The outer ear, one of the parts of the ear
The external ear is made up of the pinna (that is, the ear) and the external auditory canal. This conduit measures just over two centimeters, and is the one that connects the outside of the ear with the eardrum. In addition, I have hair and glands that secrete earwax, which protects the eardrum from any type of threat or dangerous agent that could come from outside, from dust and dirt, to germs of any kind.
The middle ear is the one between the eardrum and the one commonly called the snail (which already belongs to the inner ear). After the eardrum, it is where we find the tympanic cavity, which is a space near the skull where the chain of ear bones is located, in addition to the Eustachian tube, which communicates this cavity with the pharynx.
The inner ear, the deepest part of the ear
Finally, the inner ear, is the part of the ear that is found from the commonly called ear snail. This structure receives this name because of its appearance similar to the shell of this animal, and is responsible for receiving the vibrations transmitted by the chain of bones in the ears and regulating much of the balance. In addition, in the inner ear, we also find the so-called organ of Corti, which is responsible for transforming vibrations into nerve signals that can be interpreted by neurons in the brain when they are sent to this organ.
List with the bones of the ear
As you can see, although the bones of the ear play a main role in the transmission of vibrations, they are by no means the largest part of the ear. In fact, the bones of the ear are the three smallest bones that can be found in humans, having a total size of the chain that they form that does not exceed 18 millimeters apart. So, as you can see, they are really very small.
The hammer is the first of the ear bones. It is in contact with the eardrum, which makes it the outermost bone of the three. It gets its name from its shape, similar to that of a hammer.
The incus is the second of the ear bones, and is located in the middle of the chain of these bones, just between the hammer bone and the stirrup bone. It has a shape that resembles an anvil because it consists of a main body and two species of fins, which has earned it this name.
Finally, the stapes is the last of the bones in the ear bone chain and the innermost of all. It receives its name again because of the shape it has, which is reminiscent of a stirrup used by riders when riding. This bone connects the incus with the oval window of the inner ear, so it is also the innermost point of the middle ear.
The importance of the eardrum in protecting the bones of the ear
The bones of the ear are responsible for transmitting vibrations from the outside to the inner ear. However, you also have to know that it is a delicate structure. This is one of the reasons that we have eardrums at the end of the ear canal, since they allow to dampen vibrations and protect the chain of the bones of the ear.
In fact, those who suffer from a perforated eardrum must take additional protective measures if they do not want to damage the chain of bones. The most common of all is bathing with earplugs. This is because, due to the pressure of the water, if it exerts force on the structure of the bones of the ear, it could damage it completely, which would lead to partial or even total deafness.
In people with healthy eardrums, it acts as a natural barrier against water. But, in the case of those who suffer from perforation of the eardrum, it is necessary to take additional safety measures such as the use of plugs to protect their middle ear.