LEND ME YOUR EAR PLEASE

A. Basu ENT Surgeon


The human ear has 3 parts-external, middle and internal ear. The Tympanic Membrane is the great divide between the first two. This is connected to the inner ear by 3 small bones-­the 3rd one separating middle from inner ear. When there is a sound, it sets the air into vibrations. These vibrate the membrane-that is transmitted to the bones. Then the inner ear vibrates. This creates electric impulses which by way nerves make the sense of sound in brain. It is like a relay race-the batton being handed over from one to another.

Sound -> Airwaves -> External ear -> Membrane -> Middle ear -> Bones -> Internal ear-> Nerves -> Electric impulses -> Brain -> Sound perception. When the ear is diseased, e.g. in C.S.O.M-a "discharging ear" as told by people-the membrane and/or the bones are destroyed. The relay race is then interrupted. Some cases respond well to medicines. In others, tissues from other areas of the body, almost similar to the ear structures are grafted by microsurgery to the diseased site. But even if that is lacking? Then we have to turn to the dead - the membrane and/or the bones from it may be grafted in the living body. Besides, dissection on a cadaver, i.e., a dead body makes an Ear Surgeon more complete and competent. In some medical centres of our country and abroad, cadveric dissection is almost a must for Ear Surgery training.

In addition, research work on microscopic changes in various diseases of the ear is aided by cadaveric study.

After death, the dead body is to be preserved as early as possible. The ear and, its adjoining parts are to be preserved in special chemicals for future use.

The goes a saying, "Lend me your ears, please". This can be an ardent cry from a patient in some utterly hopeless conditions.

Let donation of dead body become a movement-this will help better movement of sound conducting mechanism, i.e., "a world with better hearing for more people". Let this become a slogan that catches on.