Ear: The hearing and equilibrium system of the body. It consists of three parts: the EXTERNAL EAR, the MIDDLE EAR, and the INNER EAR. Sound waves are transmitted through this organ where vibration is transduced to nerve signals that pass through the ACOUSTIC NERVE to the CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM. The inner ear also contains the vestibular organ that maintains equilibrium by transducing signals to the VESTIBULAR NERVE.Ear, Inner: The essential part of the hearing organ consists of two labyrinthine compartments: the bony labyrinthine and the membranous labyrinth. The bony labyrinth is a complex of three interconnecting cavities or spaces (COCHLEA; VESTIBULAR LABYRINTH; and SEMICIRCULAR CANALS) in the TEMPORAL BONE. Within the bony labyrinth lies the membranous labyrinth which is a complex of sacs and tubules (COCHLEAR DUCT; SACCULE AND UTRICLE; and SEMICIRCULAR DUCTS) forming a continuous space enclosed by EPITHELIUM and connective tissue. These spaces are filled with LABYRINTHINE FLUIDS of various compositions.Ear, Middle: The space and structures directly internal to the TYMPANIC MEMBRANE and external to the inner ear (LABYRINTH). Its major components include the AUDITORY OSSICLES and the EUSTACHIAN TUBE that connects the cavity of middle ear (tympanic cavity) to the upper part of the throat.Ear, External: The outer part of the hearing system of the body. It includes the shell-like EAR AURICLE which collects sound, and the EXTERNAL EAR CANAL, the TYMPANIC MEMBRANE, and the EXTERNAL EAR CARTILAGES.Ear Diseases: Pathological processes of the ear, the hearing, and the equilibrium system of the body.Ear Canal: The narrow passage way that conducts the sound collected by the EAR AURICLE to the TYMPANIC MEMBRANE.Ear Ossicles: A mobile chain of three small bones (INCUS; MALLEUS; STAPES) in the TYMPANIC CAVITY between the TYMPANIC MEMBRANE and the oval window on the wall of INNER EAR. Sound waves are converted to vibration by the tympanic membrane then transmitted via these ear ossicles to the inner ear.Ear Neoplasms: Tumors or cancer of any part of the hearing and equilibrium system of the body (the EXTERNAL EAR, the MIDDLE EAR, and the INNER EAR).Ear Auricle: The shell-like structure projects like a little wing (pinna) from the side of the head. Ear auricles collect sound from the environment.Cholesteatoma, Middle Ear: A mass of KERATIN-producing squamous EPITHELIUM that resembles an inverted (suck-in) bag of skin in the MIDDLE EAR. It arises from the eardrum (TYMPANIC MEMBRANE) and grows into the MIDDLE EAR causing erosion of EAR OSSICLES and MASTOID that contains the INNER EAR.Tympanic Membrane: An oval semitransparent membrane separating the external EAR CANAL from the tympanic cavity (EAR, MIDDLE). It contains three layers: the skin of the external ear canal; the core of radially and circularly arranged collagen fibers; and the MUCOSA of the middle ear.Round Window, Ear: Fenestra of the cochlea, an opening in the basal wall between the MIDDLE EAR and the INNER EAR, leading to the cochlea. It is closed by a secondary tympanic membrane.Ear Cartilage: Cartilage of the EAR AURICLE and the EXTERNAL EAR CANAL.Ear Deformities, Acquired: Distortion or disfigurement of the ear caused by disease or injury after birth.Otitis Media with Effusion: Inflammation of the middle ear with a clear pale yellow-colored transudate.Middle Ear Ventilation: Ventilation of the middle ear in the treatment of secretory (serous) OTITIS MEDIA, usually by placement of tubes or grommets which pierce the TYMPANIC MEMBRANE.Cochlea: The part of the inner ear (LABYRINTH) that is concerned with hearing. It forms the anterior part of the labyrinth, as a snail-like structure that is situated almost horizontally anterior to the VESTIBULAR LABYRINTH.Hearing: The ability or act of sensing and transducing ACOUSTIC STIMULATION to the CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM. It is also called audition.Otitis Media: Inflammation of the MIDDLE EAR including the AUDITORY OSSICLES and the EUSTACHIAN TUBE.Acoustic Impedance Tests: Objective tests of middle ear function based on the difficulty (impedance) or ease (admittance) of sound flow through the middle ear. These include static impedance and dynamic impedance (i.e., tympanometry and impedance tests in conjunction with intra-aural muscle reflex elicitation). This term is used also for various components of impedance and admittance (e.g., compliance, conductance, reactance, resistance, susceptance).Labyrinth Diseases: Pathological processes of the inner ear (LABYRINTH) which contains the essential apparatus of hearing (COCHLEA) and balance (SEMICIRCULAR CANALS).Stapes: One of the three ossicles of the middle ear. It transmits sound vibrations from the INCUS to the internal ear (Ear, Internal see LABYRINTH).Ear Protective Devices: Personal devices for protection of the ears from loud or high intensity noise, water, or cold. These include earmuffs and earplugs.Temporal Bone: Either of a pair of compound bones forming the lateral (left and right) surfaces and base of the skull which contains the organs of hearing. It is a large bone formed by the fusion of parts: the squamous (the flattened anterior-superior part), the tympanic (the curved anterior-inferior part), the mastoid (the irregular posterior portion), and the petrous (the part at the base of the skull).Hearing Loss, Conductive: Hearing loss due to interference with the mechanical reception or amplification of sound to the COCHLEA. The interference is in the outer or middle ear involving the EAR CANAL; TYMPANIC MEMBRANE; or EAR OSSICLES.Hearing Loss: A general term for the complete or partial loss of the ability to hear from one or both ears.Eustachian Tube: A narrow passageway that connects the upper part of the throat to the TYMPANIC CAVITY.Hair Cells, Auditory, Inner: Auditory sensory cells of organ of Corti, usually placed in one row medially to the core of spongy bone (the modiolus). Inner hair cells are in fewer numbers than the OUTER AUDITORY HAIR CELLS, and their STEREOCILIA are approximately twice as thick as those of the outer hair cells.Chinchilla: A genus of the family Chinchillidae which consists of three species: C. brevicaudata, C. lanigera, and C. villidera. They are used extensively in biomedical research.Cerumen: The yellow or brown waxy secretions produced by vestigial apocrine sweat glands in the external ear canal.Otitis Externa: Inflammation of the OUTER EAR including the external EAR CANAL, cartilages of the auricle (EAR CARTILAGE), and the TYMPANIC MEMBRANE.Otoacoustic Emissions, Spontaneous: Self-generated faint acoustic signals from the inner ear (COCHLEA) without external stimulation. These faint signals can be recorded in the EAR CANAL and are indications of active OUTER AUDITORY HAIR CELLS. Spontaneous otoacoustic emissions are found in all classes of land vertebrates.Auditory Threshold: The audibility limit of discriminating sound intensity and pitch.Bone Conduction: Transmission of sound waves through vibration of bones in the SKULL to the inner ear (COCHLEA). By using bone conduction stimulation and by bypassing any OUTER EAR or MIDDLE EAR abnormalities, hearing thresholds of the cochlea can be determined. Bone conduction hearing differs from normal hearing which is based on air conduction stimulation via the EAR CANAL and the TYMPANIC MEMBRANE.Vestibule, Labyrinth: An oval, bony chamber of the inner ear, part of the bony labyrinth. It is continuous with bony COCHLEA anteriorly, and SEMICIRCULAR CANALS posteriorly. The vestibule contains two communicating sacs (utricle and saccule) of the balancing apparatus. The oval window on its lateral wall is occupied by the base of the STAPES of the MIDDLE EAR.Cochlear Duct: A spiral tube that is firmly suspended in the bony shell-shaped part of the cochlea. This ENDOLYMPH-filled cochlear duct begins at the vestibule and makes 2.5 turns around a core of spongy bone (the modiolus) thus dividing the PERILYMPH-filled spiral canal into two channels, the SCALA VESTIBULI and the SCALA TYMPANI.Hearing Loss, Sensorineural: Hearing loss resulting from damage to the COCHLEA and the sensorineural elements which lie internally beyond the oval and round windows. These elements include the AUDITORY NERVE and its connections in the BRAINSTEM.Otoscopy: Examination of the EAR CANAL and eardrum with an OTOSCOPE.Otolithic Membrane: A gelatinous membrane overlying the acoustic maculae of SACCULE AND UTRICLE. It contains minute crystalline particles (otoliths) of CALCIUM CARBONATE and protein on its outer surface. In response to head movement, the otoliths shift causing distortion of the vestibular hair cells which transduce nerve signals to the BRAIN for interpretation of equilibrium.Audiometry, Pure-Tone: Measurement of hearing based on the use of pure tones of various frequencies and intensities as auditory stimuli.Acupuncture, Ear: Acupuncture therapy by inserting needles in the ear. It is used to control pain and for treating various ailments.Audiometry: The testing of the acuity of the sense of hearing to determine the thresholds of the lowest intensity levels at which an individual can hear a set of tones. The frequencies between 125 and 8000 Hz are used to test air conduction thresholds and the frequencies between 250 and 4000 Hz are used to test bone conduction thresholds.Otologic Surgical Procedures: Surgery performed on the external, middle, or internal ear.Organ of Corti: The spiral EPITHELIUM containing sensory AUDITORY HAIR CELLS and supporting cells in the cochlea. Organ of Corti, situated on the BASILAR MEMBRANE and overlaid by a gelatinous TECTORIAL MEMBRANE, converts sound-induced mechanical waves to neural impulses to the brain.Semicircular Canals: Three long canals (anterior, posterior, and lateral) of the bony labyrinth. They are set at right angles to each other and are situated posterosuperior to the vestibule of the bony labyrinth (VESTIBULAR LABYRINTH). The semicircular canals have five openings into the vestibule with one shared by the anterior and the posterior canals. Within the canals are the SEMICIRCULAR DUCTS.Endolymphatic Duct: The part of the membranous labyrinth that traverses the bony vestibular aqueduct and emerges through the bone of posterior cranial fossa (CRANIAL FOSSA, POSTERIOR) where it expands into a blind pouch called the endolymphatic sac.Mastoid: The posterior part of the temporal bone. It is a projection of the petrous bone.Evoked Potentials, Auditory, Brain Stem: Electrical waves in the CEREBRAL CORTEX generated by BRAIN STEM structures in response to auditory click stimuli. These are found to be abnormal in many patients with CEREBELLOPONTINE ANGLE lesions, MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS, or other DEMYELINATING DISEASES.Acoustic Stimulation: Use of sound to elicit a response in the nervous system.Deafness: A general term for the complete loss of the ability to hear from both ears.Spiral Ganglion: The sensory ganglion of the COCHLEAR NERVE. The cells of the spiral ganglion send fibers peripherally to the cochlear hair cells and centrally to the COCHLEAR NUCLEI of the BRAIN STEM.Oval Window, Ear: Fenestra or oval opening on the lateral wall of the vestibular labyrinth adjacent to the MIDDLE EAR. It is located above the cochlear round window and normally covered by the base of the STAPES.Otitis: Inflammation of the ear, which may be marked by pain (EARACHE), fever, HEARING DISORDERS, and VERTIGO. Inflammation of the external ear is OTITIS EXTERNA; of the middle ear, OTITIS MEDIA; of the inner ear, LABYRINTHITIS.Hearing Disorders: Conditions that impair the transmission of auditory impulses and information from the level of the ear to the temporal cortices, including the sensorineural pathways.Earache: Pain in the ear.Incus: One of three ossicles of the middle ear. It conducts sound vibrations from the MALLEUS to the STAPES.Perilymph: The fluid separating the membranous labyrinth from the osseous labyrinth of the ear. It is entirely separate from the ENDOLYMPH which is contained in the membranous labyrinth. (From McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, 4th ed, p1396, 642)Tympanoplasty: Surgical reconstruction of the hearing mechanism of the middle ear, with restoration of the drum membrane to protect the round window from sound pressure, and establishment of ossicular continuity between the tympanic membrane and the oval window. (Dorland, 28th ed.)Meniere Disease: A disease of the inner ear (LABYRINTH) that is characterized by fluctuating SENSORINEURAL HEARING LOSS; TINNITUS; episodic VERTIGO; and aural fullness. It is the most common form of endolymphatic hydrops.Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced: Hearing loss due to exposure to explosive loud noise or chronic exposure to sound level greater than 85 dB. The hearing loss is often in the frequency range 4000-6000 hertz.Tympanic Membrane Perforation: A temporary or persistent opening in the eardrum (TYMPANIC MEMBRANE). Clinical signs depend on the size, location, and associated pathological condition.Sound Localization: Ability to determine the specific location of a sound source.Sound: A type of non-ionizing radiation in which energy is transmitted through solid, liquid, or gas as compression waves. Sound (acoustic or sonic) radiation with frequencies above the audible range is classified as ultrasonic. Sound radiation below the audible range is classified as infrasonic.Hearing Loss, Unilateral: Partial or complete hearing loss in one ear.Animal Identification Systems: Procedures for recognizing individual animals and certain identifiable characteristics pertaining to them; includes computerized methods, ear tags, etc.Cochlear Diseases: Pathological processes of the snail-like structure (COCHLEA) of the inner ear (LABYRINTH) which can involve its nervous tissue, blood vessels, or fluid (ENDOLYMPH).Hair Cells, Vestibular: Sensory cells in the acoustic maculae with their apical STEREOCILIA embedded in a gelatinous OTOLITHIC MEMBRANE. These hair cells are stimulated by the movement of otolithic membrane, and impulses are transmitted via the VESTIBULAR NERVE to the BRAIN STEM. Hair cells in the saccule and those in the utricle sense linear acceleration in vertical and horizontal directions, respectively.Labyrinth Supporting Cells: Cells forming a framework supporting the sensory AUDITORY HAIR CELLS in the organ of Corti. Lateral to the medial inner hair cells, there are inner pillar cells, outer pillar cells, Deiters cells, Hensens cells, Claudius cells, Boettchers cells, and others.Otitis Media, Suppurative: Inflammation of the middle ear with purulent discharge.Auditory Pathways: NEURAL PATHWAYS and connections within the CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM, beginning at the hair cells of the ORGAN OF CORTI, continuing along the eighth cranial nerve, and terminating at the AUDITORY CORTEX.Dichotic Listening Tests: Tests for central hearing disorders based on the competing message technique (binaural separation).Stria Vascularis: A layer of stratified EPITHELIUM forming the endolymphatic border of the cochlear duct at the lateral wall of the cochlea. Stria vascularis contains primarily three cell types (marginal, intermediate, and basal), and capillaries. The marginal cells directly facing the ENDOLYMPH are important in producing ion gradients and endochoclear potential.Endolymphatic Sac: The blind pouch at the end of the endolymphatic duct. It is a storage reservoir for excess ENDOLYMPH, formed by the blood vessels in the membranous labyrinth.Otolaryngology: A surgical specialty concerned with the study and treatment of disorders of the ear, nose, and throat.Hearing Tests: Part of an ear examination that measures the ability of sound to reach the brain.Otorhinolaryngologic Diseases: Pathological processes of the ear, the nose, and the throat, also known as the ENT diseases.Hearing Aids: Wearable sound-amplifying devices that are intended to compensate for impaired hearing. These generic devices include air-conduction hearing aids and bone-conduction hearing aids. (UMDNS, 1999)Stapes Surgery: Surgery performed in which part of the STAPES, a bone in the middle ear, is removed and a prosthesis is placed to help transmit sound between the middle ear and inner ear.Ossicular Prosthesis: An implant used to replace one or more of the ear ossicles. They are usually made of plastic, Gelfoam, ceramic, or stainless steel.Audiology: The study of hearing and hearing impairment.Cochlear Microphonic Potentials: The electric response of the cochlear hair cells to acoustic stimulation.Stapedius: A tiny muscle that arises from the posterior wall of the TYMPANIC CAVITY of MIDDLE EAR with its tendon inserted onto the neck of the STAPES. Stapedius pulls the stapes posteriorly and controls its movement.Vestibular Diseases: Pathological processes of the VESTIBULAR LABYRINTH which contains part of the balancing apparatus. Patients with vestibular diseases show instability and are at risk of frequent falls.Hearing Loss, Bilateral: Partial hearing loss in both ears.Tinnitus: A nonspecific symptom of hearing disorder characterized by the sensation of buzzing, ringing, clicking, pulsations, and other noises in the ear. Objective tinnitus refers to noises generated from within the ear or adjacent structures that can be heard by other individuals. The term subjective tinnitus is used when the sound is audible only to the affected individual. Tinnitus may occur as a manifestation of COCHLEAR DISEASES; VESTIBULOCOCHLEAR NERVE DISEASES; INTRACRANIAL HYPERTENSION; CRANIOCEREBRAL TRAUMA; and other conditions.Noise: Any sound which is unwanted or interferes with HEARING other sounds.Cochlear Implantation: Surgical insertion of an electronic hearing device (COCHLEAR IMPLANTS) with electrodes to the COCHLEAR NERVE in the inner ear to create sound sensation in patients with residual nerve fibers.Auditory Perception: The process whereby auditory stimuli are selected, organized, and interpreted by the organism.Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental: Any of the processes by which nuclear, cytoplasmic, or intercellular factors influence the differential control of gene action during the developmental stages of an organism.Edema: Abnormal fluid accumulation in TISSUES or body cavities. Most cases of edema are present under the SKIN in SUBCUTANEOUS TISSUE.Cochlear Nerve: The cochlear part of the 8th cranial nerve (VESTIBULOCOCHLEAR NERVE). The cochlear nerve fibers originate from neurons of the SPIRAL GANGLION and project peripherally to cochlear hair cells and centrally to the cochlear nuclei (COCHLEAR NUCLEUS) of the BRAIN STEM. They mediate the sense of hearing.Otosclerosis: Formation of spongy bone in the labyrinth capsule which can progress toward the STAPES (stapedial fixation) or anteriorly toward the COCHLEA leading to conductive, sensorineural, or mixed HEARING LOSS. Several genes are associated with familial otosclerosis with varied clinical signs.Labyrinthitis: Inflammation of the inner ear (LABYRINTH).Scala Tympani: The lower chamber of the COCHLEA, extending from the round window to the helicotrema (the opening at the apex that connects the PERILYMPH-filled spaces of scala tympani and SCALA VESTIBULI).Semicircular Ducts: The three membranous semicircular ducts within the bony semicircular canals. They open into the UTRICLE through five openings. Each duct has at one end a sensory area called the ampullary crest. AMPULLARY HAIR CELLS of the crests sense the movement of ENDOLYMPH resulting from rotation of the head.Cochlear Implants: Electronic hearing devices typically used for patients with normal outer and middle ear function, but defective inner ear function. In the COCHLEA, the hair cells (HAIR CELLS, VESTIBULAR) may be absent or damaged but there are residual nerve fibers. The device electrically stimulates the COCHLEAR NERVE to create sound sensation.Hair Cells, Auditory, Outer: Sensory cells of organ of Corti. In mammals, they are usually arranged in three or four rows, and away from the core of spongy bone (the modiolus), lateral to the INNER AUDITORY HAIR CELLS and other supporting structures. Their cell bodies and STEREOCILIA increase in length from the cochlear base toward the apex and laterally across the rows, allowing differential responses to various frequencies of sound.PAX2 Transcription Factor: A paired box transcription factor that is essential for ORGANOGENESIS of the CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM and KIDNEY.Evoked Potentials, Auditory: The electric response evoked in the CEREBRAL CORTEX by ACOUSTIC STIMULATION or stimulation of the AUDITORY PATHWAYS.Acoustics: The branch of physics that deals with sound and sound waves. In medicine it is often applied in procedures in speech and hearing studies. With regard to the environment, it refers to the characteristics of a room, auditorium, theatre, building, etc. that determines the audibility or fidelity of sounds in it. (From Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 2d ed)Dermatitis, Contact: A type of acute or chronic skin reaction in which sensitivity is manifested by reactivity to materials or substances coming in contact with the skin. It may involve allergic or non-allergic mechanisms.Vestibulocochlear Nerve: The 8th cranial nerve. The vestibulocochlear nerve has a cochlear part (COCHLEAR NERVE) which is concerned with hearing and a vestibular part (VESTIBULAR NERVE) which mediates the sense of balance and head position. The fibers of the cochlear nerve originate from neurons of the SPIRAL GANGLION and project to the cochlear nuclei (COCHLEAR NUCLEUS). The fibers of the vestibular nerve arise from neurons of Scarpa's ganglion and project to the VESTIBULAR NUCLEI.Basilar Membrane: A basement membrane in the cochlea that supports the hair cells of the ORGAN OF CORTI, consisting keratin-like fibrils. It stretches from the SPIRAL LAMINA to the basilar crest. The movement of fluid in the cochlea, induced by sound, causes displacement of the basilar membrane and subsequent stimulation of the attached hair cells which transform the mechanical signal into neural activity.