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Anatomy of the Ear

Side of a man's face showing outer and inner ear.

The ear is a complex and delicate organ. It collects sound waves so you can hear the world around you. The ear also has a second function -- it helps you keep your balance. Your ear can be divided into three parts. The outer ear and middle ear help collect and amplify sound. The inner ear converts sound waves to messages that are sent to the brain. The inner ear also senses the movement and position of your head and body so you can maintain your balance and see clearly, even when you change positions.

Illustration of the inner ear showing outer, middle and inner ear structures including: the mastoid bone, the external ear, the ear canal, the eardrum, the middle ear bones, the eustachian tube, the cochlea, the auditory nerve, the vestibular nerve, the facial nerve, and the semicircular canals.


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