Scientific Did you Know – 9

Did you know…






… the auditory ossicles are the smallest bones in the human body?



The three ossicles are located in the middle ear. They form the connection between the eardrum and the cochlea (which is the actual hearing organ). When our ear catches sound waves, the eardrum vibrates and it in turn moves the ossicles. The eardrum is much larger than the bones, so the latter experience these vibrations on a much larger scale. The bones in turn, move the fluid in the cochlear cavities, which stimulates movement of the ‘hairs’ on the ‘haircells’. These cells capture this movement and turn it into impulses, that are sent to the brain to analyze.



The three auditory ossicles are, in order: the malleus or hammer, the incus or anvil and the stapes or stirrup. The stirrup is the smallest, with a mass of approx. 2,5 milligrams! Really tiny! Hammer and anvil are roughly the same size and have a mass that is 10 times the mass of the stirrup. Which is still very tiny!

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