What Are the Functions of the Ear?


The ear is an organ that is responsible for our hearing and balance. It can detect, transmit and transduce sound via a complex system comprising various tissues, cartilages and bones. Additionally, it helps maintain our balance and sense of direction.

There are generally 3 parts of the ear—outer, middle and inner ear.

  • The outer ear consists of the following:

    • Pinna or auricle (the outside part of the ear)
    • External auditory canal that connects the outer ear to the inside of the middle ear
  • The middle ear (tympanic cavity) comprises the following:

    • Tympanic membrane (eardrum) that divides the outer ear from the middle ear
    • Ossicles which are 3 small bones (the malleus, incus and stapes) that are connected and transmit sound waves to the inner ear 
    • Eustachian tube which is a canal that links the middle ear with the back of the nose and helps to equalise the pressure in the middle ear.
  • The inner ear is made up of the following:

    • Cochlea which contains the nerves for hearing
    • Vestibule and semicircular canals which contain receptors for balance

Our Specialists

Dr Chin Chao-Wu David

Senior Consultant Ear Nose Throat Surgeon

Dr Eng Soh Ping Elliot

Senior Consultant Ear Nose Throat Surgeon

Dr Leong Jern-Lin

Senior Consultant Ear Nose Throat Surgeon

Dr Mark Hon Wah Ignatius

Senior Consultant Ear Nose Throat Surgeon

Dr Valerie Tay Su-Lin

Senior Consultant Ear Nose Throat Surgeon

Dr Huang Xinyong

Senior Consultant Ear Nose Throat Surgeon

For Singaporeans & Singapore Permanent Residents

Insurance & Medisave Partners

Certain ENT procedures are claimable under Medisave, and the exact amount would depend on the procedure. For more information, please speak to our friendly clinic staff about using your insurance plan, Integrated Shield Plan, or Medisave.

When Should You See An ENT Specialist In Singapore??

  • Any Ear, Nose or Throat symptoms that you are troubled with or concerned of
  • Persistent blocked nose with mouth breathing or snoring

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Are ear and balance conditions serious? When should I visit a doctor?

    Most ear and balance conditions and symptoms are typically temporary and can recover on their own. Furthermore, long-term complications are generally rare as well.

    However, if your symptoms worsen and cause extreme discomfort to the extent that it impedes your daily functioning, you should seek immediate medical attention.

    It is best to consult a specialist if you are uncertain about your symptoms or conditions.

    What increases the risks of ear and balance conditions?
    • Head injury
    • Viral infection
    • Motion sickness from sea travel
    • Certain medications
    • Low or high blood pressure
    • Poor blood circulation
    How to prevent ear and balance conditions?
    • Drinking more water
    • Limit or avoid alcohol consumption
    • Exercising regularly
    • Take extra caution when engaging in strenuous or dangerous activities
    • Maintaining a healthy weight