Tensor tympani muscle
|Tensor tympani muscle|
The medial wall and part of the posterior and anterior walls of the right tympanic cavity, lateral view. (Label for "Tensor tympani muscle" is at right, second from bottom.)
|Latin||Musculus tensor tympani|
|Insertion||Handle of the malleus|
|Artery||Superior tympanic artery|
|Nerve||Medial pterygoid nerve from the mandibular nerve (V3)|
|Actions||Tensing the tympanic membrane|
|Anatomical terms of muscle|
The tensor tympani arises from the cartilaginous portion of the auditory tube, and the adjoining part of the great wing of the sphenoid, as well as from the osseous canal in which it is contained. Passing backward through the canal, it ends in a slender tendon which enters the tympanic cavity, makes a sharp bend around the extremity of the septum, known as the processus cochleariformis, and is inserted into the handle of the malleus, near its root.  :862
Innervation of the tensor tympani is from the tensor tympani nerve, a branch of the mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve. :863 As the tensor tympani is innervated by motor fibres of the trigeminal nerve, it does not receive fibres from the trigeminal ganglion, which has sensory fibres only.
The tensor tympani muscle develops from mesodermal tissue in the 1st pharyngeal arch.
The tensor tympani acts to dampen the noise produced by chewing. When tensed, the muscle pulls the malleus medially, tensing the tympanic membrane and damping vibration in the ear ossicles and thereby reducing the perceived amplitude of sounds. :863
Contracting muscles produce vibration and sound. Slow twitch fibers produce 10 to 30 contractions per second (equivalent to 10 to 30 Hz sound frequency). Fast twitch fibers produce 30 to 70 contractions per second (equivalent to 30 to 70 Hz sound frequency). The vibration can be witnessed and felt by highly tensing one's muscles, as when making a firm fist. The sound can be heard by pressing a highly tensed muscle against the ear, again a firm fist is a good example. The sound is usually described as a rumbling sound. Many individuals can voluntarily produce this rumbling sound by contracting the tensor tympani muscle of the middle ear. The rumbling sound can also be heard when the neck or jaw muscles are highly tensed as when yawning deeply. This phenomenon is known since (at least) 1884 (cf : Tillaux Paul Jules, Traité d’Anatomie topographique avec applications à la chirurgie, Paris Asselin et Houzeau publishers (4°ed. 1884, p. 125 )).
In many people with hyperacusis, an increased activity develops in the tensor tympani muscle in the middle ear as part of the startle response to some sounds. This lowered reflex threshold for tensor tympani contraction is activated by the perception/anticipation of loud sound, and is called tonic tensor tympani syndrome (TTTS). In some people with hyperacusis, the tensor tympani muscle can contract just by thinking about a loud sound. Following exposure to intolerable sounds, this contraction of the tensor tympani muscle tightens the ear drum, which can lead to the symptoms of ear pain/a fluttering sensation/a sensation of fullness in the ear (in the absence of any middle or inner ear pathology).
- Drake, Richard L.; Vogl, Wayne; Tibbitts, Adam; W.M. Mitchell (2005). Gray's anatomy for students. Illustrations by Richard; Richardson, Paul (Pbk. ed.). Philadelphia: Elsevier/Churchill Livingstone. ISBN 978-0-443-06612-2.
- Moore, Keith (2003). The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology 7th Ed. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Saunders. pp. 204–208. ISBN 0-7216-9412-8.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Barry DT., Vibrations and sounds from evoked muscle twitches., Electromyogr Clin Neurophysiol. 1992 Jan-Feb;32(1-2):35-40.
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This article uses anatomical terminology; for an overview, see anatomical terminology.
- Middle ear
- Stapedius – the other major muscle in the middle ear
- Acoustic reflex
- Origin, insertion and nerve supply of the muscle at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine
- MadSci Network