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Cartilage of Auditory Tube
Connective Tissue

Cartilage of Auditory Tube

Cartilago tubae auditivae

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Structure

The auditory tube has both bony and cartilaginous parts. The body part makes up one third of the tube closest to the tympanic cavity. It beings in the wall of the tympanic cavity and descends anteromedially through the temporal bone. The end of the bony part serves as the attachment for the cartilaginous portion.

The cartilaginous part of the auditory tube opens directly under the mucous membrane of the nasopharynx where it forms an elevation, the torus tubarius. In children the angle of the tube is more horizontal but is at an angle of 45° in adults.

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Anatomical Relations

The auditory tube connects the tympanic cavity and the nasopharynx.

Function

Due to the auditory tube connecting the nasopharynx and the middle ear, it can equalize pressure in the middle ear. This is important why flying or scuba diving as the surrounding air pressure changes. Active opening of the auditory tube is needed to equalize this pressure change. This is essential to maintain normal tympanic membrane motility and, hence, important for hearing. The auditory tube is normally collapsed and opens when swallowing or with positive pressure. The auditory tube also aids in mucociliary clearance of the middle ear and protection from loud sounds.

List of Clinical Correlates

—Otitis media

—Barotitis

—Patulois pharyngotympanic tube

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Auditory Tube

ScienceDirect image

The opening of the auditory tube (which leads to the middle ear) lies on the dorsolateral wall of the nasopharynx.

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