What Are the Three Small Bones in the Ear?

three-small-bones-ear Credit: PhotoAlto/Sigrid Olsson/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

The three small bones that are found in the ear include the malleus, incus and stapes. The bones are referred to as the hammer, anvil and stirrup.

The human ear contains three small bones, two muscles, ligaments and cartilage, all of which work together to process sound waves and facilitate human hearing. The malleus bone, which is also called the hammer, and the body of the incus, or the anvil, are tightly fitted together and are found in the upper portion of the eardrum cavity. The stapes bone, which is also known as the stirrup, lies horizontally at a right angle with the incus. The positioning of the bones creates a small oval window, which holds its formation with ligaments, all of which promotes optimal hearing.