Illustration showing parts of the middle ear
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The middle ear is an air-filled cavity that holds a chain of three bones: the hammer, anvil and stirrup. The middle ear is connected to the back of your nose and upper part of your throat by a narrow channel called the auditory tube, or eustachian tube. The tube opens and closes at the throat-end to refresh the air in the middle ear, drain fluids and equalize pressure in the ear. Equal pressure on both sides of the eardrum is important for normal vibration of the eardrum.