Skip to main content

Unfortunately we don't fully support your browser. If you have the option to, please upgrade to a newer version or use Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, or Safari 14 or newer. If you are unable to, and need support, please send us your feedback.

Publish with us
Auditory Ossicles
Skeletal System

Auditory Ossicles

Ossicula auditis

Read more


The auditory ossicles are a chain of three tiny bones located in the tympanic cavity of the middle ear in the temporal bone. The auditory ossicles are the malleus, incus and stapes and they are connected to the walls of the tympanic cavity by multiple ligaments. The chain of auditory ossicles extends from the tympanic membrane to the vestibular window of the labyrinthine wall, where:

- the tympanic membrane attaches to the malleus;

- the malleus articulates with the incus at the incudomallear joint;

- the incus articulates with the stapes at the incudostapedial joint;

- the stapes attaches to the vestibular window of the labyrinthine wall.

The auditory ossicles are involved in the sense of hearing. They transfer the vibratory movements of the tympanic membrane, produced by sound waves, to the internal ear for sensory processing. Their associated muscles, the tensor tympani and stapedius muscles, are capable of limiting the vibratory movement of the ossicles to prevent damage to internal ear structures when hearing loud sounds.

Complete Anatomy
The world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform
Try it for Free
Related parts of the anatomy

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Auditory Ossicles: What Are They, Location, Function, and More

Osmosis image

The auditory ossicles—malleus, incus, and stapes—are three small bones in the middle ear that transmit air vibrations from the outer ear into the inner ear, so they can be processed as sound

Explore on Osmosis(opens in new tab/window)

Auditory Ossicle

ScienceDirect image

Whereas the auditory ossicles of the middle ear remained coupled to the mandible, their relative size and architecture suggests that they functioned much as the middle ear in mammals (Allin, 1975;

Explore on ScienceDirect(opens in new tab/window)

Complete Anatomy

The world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform

Complete Anatomy