Interrelations between the middle and inner ear in otitis media

Rui Penha, Pedro Escada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This article reviews the importance of the round-window membrane in exposing the labyrinth to or protecting it from the toxic effects of otitis media. Characteristics of the immune system in the human middle ear and middle-ear mechanisms against bacteria are explained. The role of bacteria and bacterial products in inner-ear damage is detailed, and related pathological events are described. The hypothetical role of inflammatory mediators in bacteria-induced inner-ear toxicity is particularly emphasized. Clinical conditions causing these events are detailed, and the most frequently involved microorganisms are mentioned. Finally, round-window membrane macroscopic and microscopic anatomy is discussed, and considerations about the exact role of membrane inflammation--protection versus damage of the inner ear--are expressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-91
Number of pages5
JournalThe international tinnitus journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • Bacterial Toxins
  • Ear, Inner
  • Ear, Middle
  • Humans
  • Otitis Media
  • Permeability
  • Round Window, Ear
  • Journal Article
  • Review


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