Cavities can occur overnight

Often briefly, always violently

In order to better classify common ear diseases, it is helpful to take a look at the structure of the ear. Anatomically, this is divided into three areas: the outer ear, the middle and the inner ear.

The outer ear comprises the auricle made up of elastic cartilage with the earlobe and the external auditory canal. The middle ear consists of the eardrum, the tympanic cavity and the ear trumpet. The eardrum separates the external auditory canal from the tympanic cavity. This is an air-filled cavity in the temporal bone. In addition to blood vessels and nerves, the three auditory ossicles - hammer, anvil and stapes - are located in it.

The middle ear also includes the eustachian tube (Eustachian tube), which is about 3.5 centimeters long and connects the tympanic cavity with the nasopharynx and serves to equalize pressure.

The inner ear, which is filled with fluid, consists of the cochlea and the organ of equilibrium. The actual hearing organ, the organ of Corti with around 25,000 hair cells, is located on the basilar membrane, which is located in the cochlea. They process the sound waves into electrical impulses and direct them to the brain via the auditory nerve.

The mastoid (wart part) is also important in connection with ear diseases. This area of ​​the temporal bone carries what is known as the mastoid process, to which some long neck muscles are attached. The mastoid process is hollow, lined with mucous membrane and connected to the tympanic cavity via an opening.

In the wall of the ear canal are the wax glands that secrete yellow-brownish sticky wax (cerumen). Due to its waxy nature, it protects the ear canal from drying out, maintains the elasticity of the eardrum and, thanks to its low pH value, wards off harmful germs. The cerumen contains lysozyme and other substances that prevent bacteria and insects from entering the ear canal.

Tiny hairs with their shimmering movements transport the cerumen together with flaked skin and dirt particles through the ear canal to the outside. Movements of the lower jaw when speaking and chewing support the transport. In this way, the ear usually cleans itself.