The main parts of the human ear include external, middle and inner ear areas divided into the pinna, external auditory canal, tympanic membrane, semicircular canals, cochlea and middle ear. The middle ear is made up of three bones: the malleus, incus and stapes.
The external part of the area is called the pinna or auricle, the fleshy, visible organ that is made up largely of cartilage and sinew. The shape of the ear helps to capture and channel sound to the middle and inner ear where they are interpreted into comprehensible noises. Sounds move from the pinna to the external auditory canal and the tympanic membrane. Both these parts, along with the malleus, incus and stapes bones, make up the middle ear.
Once the sound filters through the tympanic membrane, it causes the malleus bone or the hammer to vibrate, hitting the incus bone or the anvil. The anvil has two prongs, one of which connects it to the stapes or the stirrup. This bone acts as a tuning fork and sends the vibrations to the inner ear.
The vibrations move to the cochlea or cochlear labyrinth in the inner ear, a spiral or shell-shaped organ that sends the vibrations via nerve impulses to the brain for interpretation. The semicircular canals are filled with tubes and are responsible for enabling a person to keep his balance.