Advertisement Upgrade to remove ads


medical speciality that studies the anatomy and physiology of the ears, nose, and throat.


visible external ear. also known as the pinna


sticky wax that traps dirt in the external auditory canal.

mastoid process

bony projection of the temporal bone that lies just behind the external ear and contains tiny cavities filled with air.

tympanic membrane

eardrum. divides the external ear from the middle ear.


the three tiny bones of the ear. (malleus, incus, and stapes.


first bone of the middle ear. attached to the tympanic membrane on one end and the incus on the other. Also known as the hammer.


second bone of the middle ear. attached to the malleus on one end and the stapes on the other. also known as the anvil.


the third bone of the middle ear. attached to the incus on one end and the oval window on the other. also known as the stirrup.

eustachian tube

allows air pressure in the middle ear to equalize with the air pressure outside the body.


first structure of the inner ear. tubular structure filled with fluid that contacts the oval window and the round window. The end of the vestibule become the semicircular canals and the cochlea.

semicircular canals

3 seperate but intertwined canals that are oriented in different planes. (horizontally, vertically, and obliquely) Help the body keep its balance.


structure in the inner ear associated with the sense of hearing. relays information to the brain via the cochlear branch of the auditory nerve.

vestibulocochlear nerve (aka auditory nerve)

cranial nerve VIII that conducts nerve impulses from the semicircular canals (balance) and cochlea (hearing) to the brain.

nasal septum

vertical wall of bone and cartilage that divides the nose into right and left nostrils.


nostrils or the external openings of the nasal cavity. (singular=naris)

nasal cavity

the hollow area inside the nose that is formed by the ethmoid bone and by the maxillary bones.


three bony projections found on the lateral walls of each nasal cavity, the middle, superior, and inferior


hollow cavity within a bone of the cranium

frontal sinuses

pair of sinuses above each eyebrowin the frontal bone of the skull.

maxillary sinuses

largest pair of sinuses which are found on iether side of the nose in the maxillary bone (upper jaw)

ethmoid sinuses

small air cells in the ethmoid bone between the eyes and the nose.

sphenoid sinuses

in the sphenoid bone posterior to the nasal cavity and next to the pituitary bone of the brain.

oral cavity

hollow area inside the mouth that contains the tongue, hard palate, soft palate, uvula, teeth, and salivary glands.

buccal mucosa

mucosa inside of the cheek


large muscle in the oral cavity that is attached to the mandible.

hard palate

roof of the mouth that divides the oral cavity from the nasal cavity and is made up of 3 different bones; maxilla, palatine, and the vomer.

soft palate

soft tissue extension of the hard palate at the back of the throat.

temporomandibular joint

moveable joint where the ligaments attach each end of the mandible to the temporal bone of the cranium.


back of the throat. divided into 3 areas


uppermost portion of the throat where the posterior nares unite. openings at the ends of the eustachian tubes are in the nasopharynx.


pharyngeal tonsils, a collection of lymphoid tissue.

palatine tonsils

lymphnoid tissue on either side of the throat.

lingual tonsils

lymphoid tissue located on both sides of the base of the tongue.


triangular structure in the anterior neck that contains the vocal cords.

vocal cords

folds of connective tissue that produce your voice, stretch across the opening of the larynx


lid like structure that covers the top of the larynx during swallowing to keep food from entering the lungs.

cerumen impaction

condition in which cerumen (ear wax) epithelial cells, and hair form a mass that occludes the external auditory canal.

hearing loss

progressive, permanent decline in the ability to hear sounds in one or both ears.


bilateral hearing loss due to aging.


bacterial or viral infection of the semicircular canals of the inner ear, causing severe vertigo.

Meniere's disease

edema of the semicirculare canals with destruction of the cochlea, causing hearing loss, tinnitus, and vertigo.

motion sickness

dysequilibrium with headache, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting caused by riding in a car, boat or airplane.

otitis externa

bacterial infection of the external auditory canal.



otitis media

acute or chronic bacterial infection of the middle ear.


feeling of pressure


a collection of fluid




with pus


condition in which there is abnormal formation of bone in the inner ear, particularly between the stapes and the oval window.

ruptured tympanic membrane

tear in the tympanic membrane due to excessive pressure of infection.


sounds, (buzzing, ringing, hissing, roaring) that are heard constantly or intermittently in one or both ears, even in a quiet enviroment.


sensation of being off balance when the body is not moving.

allergic rhinitis

condition in which there are allergic symptoms in the nose.




loss of the sense of smell


sense of smell


sudden, sometimes severe, bleeding from the nose.


acute or chronic bacterial infection in one or all of the sinus cavities.


infection of all the sinuses.

upper respiratory infection

URI-- bacterial or viral infection of the nose that can spread to the throat and ears. also known as the common cold.


benign growth from the mucous membrane of the nose or sinuses.

septal deviation

lateral displacement of the nasal septum, significantly narrowingone of the nasal airways.

cleft lip palate

cleft lip and palate is a congenital deformity in which the maxilla fails to join before birth.


benign, thickened, white patch on the mucous membrane of the mouth.


bacterial or viral infection of the throat.


oral infection caused by the yeast like fungus candida albicans.

oral candidiasis

white coating on the tongue and oral mucosa

cold sores

recurring, painful clusters of blisters, erupting on the lips or nose, caused by infection with herpes simplex virs type 1.


horseness or complete loss of the voice, difficult swallowing, and cough due to swelling and inflammation of the larynx. caused by a bacterial or viral infection.



temporomadnibular joint syndrome

TMI-- dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint with clicking, pain, muscle spasm, and difficulty opening the jaw.


accute or chronic bacterial infection of the pharynx and palatine tonsils with sore throat, difficulty swallowing, mouth breathing, and snoring.

vocal cord nodule or polyp

benign growth on the surface of the vocal cord.


medical procedure to examine the external auditory canals and tympanic membranes.


hearing test that measures hearing acuity and documents hearing loss.


sense of hearing

romberg's sign

medical procedure to assess equilibrium

endoscopic sinus surgery

surgical procedure that uses an endoscope to examine the nose, sinuses, or throat.

cochlear implant

surgical procedure to implant a small, battery powered implant beneath the skin behind the ear.


surgical procedure that uses a myringotome to make an incision in the tympanic membrane to drain fluid from the middle ear.


ventilating tube inserted through the incision to form a permanent opening into the middle ear.


tympanic membrane or eardrum


tympanic membrane or eardrum


surgical procedure to remove polyps from the nasal cavity, sinuses, or vocal cord.

radical neck dissection

surgical procedure to treat extensive cancer of the mouth and neck.


surgical procedure that uses plastic surgery to change the size or shape of the nose.


surgical procedure to reconstruct a ruptured tympanic membrane.

tonsilectomy and adenoidectomy

(T&A) surgical procedure to remove the tonsils and adenoids in patients with chronic tonsilitis and hypertrophy of the tonsils and adenoids.

Please allow access to your computer’s microphone to use Voice Recording.

Having trouble? Click here for help.

We can’t access your microphone!

Click the icon above to update your browser permissions above and try again


Reload the page to try again!


Press Cmd-0 to reset your zoom

Press Ctrl-0 to reset your zoom

It looks like your browser might be zoomed in or out. Your browser needs to be zoomed to a normal size to record audio.

Please upgrade Flash or install Chrome
to use Voice Recording.

For more help, see our troubleshooting page.

Your microphone is muted

For help fixing this issue, see this FAQ.

Star this term

You can study starred terms together

NEW! Voice Recording