Bones come in all sorts of shapes and sizes… One is a teeny tiny bone found in your ear. It’s called the stapes and is smaller than a pea!
At less than 3 millimetres long, it’s shaped like a stirrup – in fact that’s where the word comes from – stapes is a Latin word for stirrup.
This bone has got nothing to do with horses – although all animals have a similar bone.
In humans, the stapes works with two other bones called the malleus and the incus. These bones, just like the stapes, are named after their shape.
Malleus is the Latin word for hammer and incus is the Latin word for anvil.
These bones are found in the middle ear and their job is to move sound-waves that come from the outer ear to the inner ear. They also help make sounds quieter before they reach the inner ear…
Together, these bones are called Ossicles – which literally means little bones.
Since they are in your middle ear they’re not the sort of bone you’re likely to break! Although they are small, they’re vital in helping us to hear, and by hearing we can make sense of the world around us.
Hallux’s Hearing Helpdesk is now open and is answering all of your hearing questions!
Hallux’s Hearing Helpdesk, with support from Phonak.
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