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Ivory model of a human ear, Europe, 1701-1800

The ivory model of the ear can be taken apart to show the internal structure. The three small bones in the middle ear transmit sound from the outer ear through the ear drum. These three bones are named (from left to right) the malleus, the incus and the stapes. The vibrations of sound are transmitted through each of these bones in turn from the ear drum to the inner ear, which contains the cochlea. The hairs of the bones in the inner ear send a nerve impulse to the brain. This would have been used as a teaching aid to help illustrate the anatomy of the ear to medical students.

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Glossary: ear

The organ of hearing; the external ear

Glossary: teaching aid

A tool used by teachers, facilitators, or tutors to help learners improve reading and other skills,or to illustrate or reinforce a skill, fact, or idea. They can often combat anxiety or boredom, as many teaching aids are like games.

Glossary: anatomical model

A model that demonstrates the structure of the human body through the separation of its parts. Often used for teaching purposes.

Glossary: anatomy

A branch of medical science concerned with the structure of living organisms.