Malleus

The malleus is the outermost and largest of the three small bones in the middle ear, and reaches an average length of about eight millimeters in the typical adult.

It is informally referred to as a hammer, owing to it being a hammer-shaped ossicle or small bone that is connected to the ear. It is composed of the head, neck, anterior process, lateral process, and manubrium.

When sound reaches the tympanic membrane (eardrum), the malleus transmits these sound vibrations from the eardrum to the incus, and then to the stapes, which is connected to the oval window. Because the malleus is directly connected to the eardrum, it is unlikely that it will be the cause of hearing loss.

In cases of atticoantral disease, an inflammatory disease of the middle ear, the ossicular chain (malleus, incus, and stapes) is often affected by abnormal skin growth, called cholesteatoma. This can cause loss of hearing. The malleus and or incus may have to be removed in order to remove all of the cholesteatomas. In cases like these, there may be a second surgery needed for reconstruction purposes.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
Co-developed by:

In Depth: Malleus

Debugging Tools

Level: 3
Frame: 16
Toggle Hotspot
VP Data Tool
HexTable json from Steve
Steve's ajax layer update call:
[still on original layer]

Ad values:

adModel.dfpAdSite: hn.us.hl.bm.x.x.x
adParams['k1']: othereardisorders,malleus,8002516

More on BodyMaps

Take a Video Tour

Learn how to rotate, look inside and explore the human body. Take the tour

BodyMaps Feedback

How do you like BodyMaps? How can we improve it? Tell us what you think
Advertisement
Advertisement