Q:

What is the function of the tympanic cavity?

A:

Quick Answer

The tympanic cavity contains the small bones of the inner ear, and its function is to carry sound from the eardrum and into the inner ear. These small bones are called ossicles, and they form a chain inside the tympanic cavity.

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Full Answer

The tympanic cavity is also referred to as the middle ear. It is an air-filled and membrane-lined area located between the Eustachian tubes and ear canal.

The middle ear plays an important role in hearing. Inside this cavity the mucus membrane covered ossicles form a small chain and carry sound vibrations into the inner ear. Sounds are converted into nerve impulses as soon as they enter the fluid-filled inner ear. These nerve impulses are then sent to the brain.

The middle ear also plays a role in maintaining equalized pressure in the head. This area is pressurized, and the pressure is maintained through the Eustachian tubes, which are closed while not in use. Each time a person swallows, these tubes open up and allow fresh air into the tympanic cavity. When this pressure is not equalized with the outside environment it can cause pain, and it is the reason why some people experience discomfort in airplanes or at high altitudes.

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