Tensor tympani

The tensor tympani is a short muscle in the middle ear that arises from the superior surface of the cartilaginous part of the Eustachian tube, the greater wing of the sphenoid, and the petrous part of the temporal bone. It passes across the tympanic cavity and inserts into the upper end of the handle of the malleus. It acts to pull down the handle medially, which in turn tenses the tympanic membrane and therefore reduces the amplitude of its osscillations. This prevents damage to the internal ear from loud sounds. It has no opponent and elastic recoil restores the status quo as the muscle relaxes.

Innervation

It is supplied by the the nerve to medial pterygoid, a branch of the mandibular nerve (CNV3), whose cell bodies lie in the motor nucleus of the trigeminal nerve in the pons.

Related pathology

Head and neck anatomy
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Article information

rID: 44102
System: Head & Neck
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Tensor tympani muscle

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