Oval window

Oval window
Oval window
View of the inner wall of the tympanum. (label is 'fen. oval.' - black circle near top.)
Right osseous labyrinth. Lateral view. (label is 'vestibular fenestra' - black circle near center.)
Latin fenestra vestibuli, fenestra ovalis
Gray's subject #230 1040
MeSH Oval+Window
Dorlands/Elsevier Oval window

The oval window (or vestibular window) is a membrane-covered opening which leads from the middle ear to the vestibule of the inner ear.

Vibrations that come into contact with the tympanic membrane travel through the three ossicles and into the inner ear. The oval window is the intersection of the middle ear with the inner ear, and is directly contacted by the stapes; by the time vibrations reach the oval window, they have been amplified over twenty times from what they were when they contacted the tympanic membrane, a testament to the amplifying power of the middle ear.

It is a reniform (kidney-shaped) opening leading from the tympanic cavity into the vestibule of the internal ear; its long diameter is horizontal, and its convex border is upward. In the recent state it is occupied by the base of the stapes, the circumference of which is fixed by the annular ligament to the margin of the foramen.

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This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained within it may be outdated.