Anat Cell Biol 2022; 55(2): 113-117
Published online June 30, 2022
Copyright © Korean Association of ANATOMISTS.
1Department of Structural & Cellular Biology, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA, 2Department of Neurosurgery, Tulane Center for Clinical Neurosciences, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA, 3Department of Neurology, Tulane Center for Clinical Neurosciences, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA, USA, 4Division of Gross and Clinical Anatomy, Department of Anatomy, Kurume University School of Medicine, Kurume, Fukuoka, Japan, 5Department of Anatomical Dissection and Donation, Medical University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland, 6Department of Neurosurgery and Ochsner Neuroscience Institute, Ochsner Health System, New Orleans, LA, USA, 7Department of Anatomical Sciences, St. George’s University, St. George’s, Grenada, 8Department of Surgery, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA, USA
Correspondence to:Joe Iwanaga
Department of Neurosurgery, Tulane Center for Clinical Neurosciences, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
The tensor tympani muscle is structurally important in the middle ear, specifically through its involvement in the impedance of sound in response to intense auditory and non-auditory stimuli. Despite numerous studies, its true function has been debated for many years; questions still remain about its role in auditory and non-auditory reflexes and in sound damping. Some studies suggest that the tensor tympani muscle contracts as a result of non-auditory stimulation such as facial or head movements; others suggest that it contracts due to input from the cochlear nucleus, therefore by way of auditory stimulation. Whatever the cause, contraction of the tensor tympani muscle results in low frequency mixed hearing loss, either to protect the inner ear from loud sounds or to desensitize the ear to self-generated sounds. A review of these studies indicated that the tensor tympani muscle has a wide range of functions, yet the mechanisms of some of them have not been clearly demonstrated. One major question is whether the tensor tympani muscle contributes to sound damping; and if it does, what specific role it serves. The primary purpose of this review article is to explore the functions of the tensor tympani muscle in light of recent research advances.
Keywords: Ear, Sound, Hearing, Muscles, Anatomy