Tympanic membrane

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Basics

Right tympanic membrane as seen through a speculum.
The tympanic membrane viewed from within
  • aka the ear drum
  • consists of a thin core of fibrous connective tissue, with epidermis on the external surface and mucous membrane on the inner surface
  • circular, about 1 cm in diameter and obliquely placed
  • appears concave from the lateral surface and, at the bottom of the concavity, is a depression, the umbo (= rounded or conical elevation), where the handle of the malleus attaches to it
  • The tympanic membrane is very sensitive to pain, especially the external surface, which is supplied by the auricular branches of the auriculo-temporal branch of the mandibular nerve and the facial nerve (minor).
  • note: In young children, the external auditory meatus is very short, which means that the tympanic membrane is close to the surface. Care must therefore be taken when inserting an auroscope.