|Also called: tympanum, Nontechnical name: eardrum the thin translucent oval membrane separating the external ear from the middle ear. It transmits vibrations produced by sound waves, via the ossicles, to the cochlea|
tympanic membrane n.
membrane in the human ear that receives sound vibrations from the outer air and transmits them to the auditory ossicles, which are tiny bones in the tympanic (middle ear) cavity. It also serves as the lateral wall of the tympanic cavity, separating it from the external auditory canal. The membrane lies across the end of the external canal and looks like a flattened cone with its tip (apex) pointed inward. The edges are attached to a ring of bone, the tympanic annulus.
Learn more about tympanic membrane with a free trial on Britannica.com.