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Suppurative Otitis Media (SOM)

A little knowledge of the basic anatomy of the middle ear will be helpful for understanding the development of otitis media. The external ear canal is that tube which leads from the outside opening of the ear to the structure called the tympanic membrane. Behind the tympanic membrane is the space called the middle ear. Within the middle ear are three tiny bones, called ossicles. Sound (in the form of vibration) causes movement in the eardrum, and then the ossicles. The ossicles transmit the sound to a structure within the inner ear, which sends it to the brain for processing. The nasopharynx is that passageway behind the nose which takes inhaled air into the breathing tubes leading to the lungs. The eustachian tube is a canal which runs between the middle ear and the nasopharynx.