The human ear consists of 3 parts, the auricle, the middle ear and the inner ear. The auricle is the outer portion of the ear that we see. It is also called the pinna, and it conducts sound vibrations down into the ear canal to the eardrum (or tympanum). The middle ear is a cavity which contains the three smallest bones of the human body, the ossicles: malleus, incus and stapes. The Latin names of these three bones refer to their shape and are also called the hammer, anvil and stirrup, respectively. The ossicles convert the sound waves hitting the eardrum to mechanical energy transmitted and amplified over 10 times through the mechanical advantage of the lever action of the interconnected ossicles. The third bone in the series, the stapes, is directly attached to the oval window of the inner ear. The inner ear is responsible for sound detection and balance. The cochlea receives the vibrations of the stapes as it moves against the oval window. These vibrations are converted to electrical signals transmitted to the brain via the auditory nerve. The three semicircular canals register rotational movements and are thus responsible for balance.