Functional model of the middle ear ossicles

Takahiro Satoda, Saiji Shimoe, Seicho Makihira, Mitsuhiro Tamamoto, Atsue Matsumoto, Kumiko Hara, Maki Noso, Yoshie Niitani, Masaru Sugiyama, Toshinobu Takemoto, Takeshi Murayama, Hideaki Amano, Hiroki Nikawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In students' dissection practice, it is very difficult to teach students the structures and functions of the middle ear ossicles. The middle ear ossicles are too small to explain their structures and functions. Models are useful in explaining these points, but there have been no models that accurately explain the movements of the middle ear ossicles and the functions of the muscles in the middle ear. This time, we have made a model of middle ear ossicles. Our ear ossicles are made of paper-mache with metal in it. The incudomalleolar and incudostapedial articulations are made of rubber. The tensor tympani and the stapedius muscles are made of wire and the two wires can be fixed by cord stoppers. Our model explains clearly the following mechanisms of the middle ear ossicles. 1. The mechanism of sound conduction system. When the sound vibrates the tympanic membrane, malleus and incus rotate together. The long process of the incus pushes the head of the stapes. The sound is amplified by leverage. 2. Attenuation of sound by contractions of tensor tympani and stapedius muscles. When a loud sound is transmitted through the ossicular system, the tensor tympani muscle pulls the malleus inward while the stapedius muscle pulls the stapes outward. These two forces oppose each other and increase rigidity of the ossicular system, thus reducing the ossicular conduction. 3. The mechanism of how paralysis of stapedius muscle, caused by an injury to the facial nerve, results in hyperacusis. 4. This model also suggests a possible reason why the pars lucida of the tympanic membrane exists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-46
Number of pages6
JournalKaibogaku zasshi. Journal of anatomy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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