Hearing, Speech & Language Anatomy

Hearing Speech and Language Anatomy

When it comes to hearing, speech, and language, the key organs involved in facilitating the processes involved the ear, as well as the mouth, and throat. Let’s take a look at the anatomy of these organs.

The Ear

Divided into three parts, the ear consists of:

The external (outer) ear, which comprises the:

  • pinna or auricle, the outside part of the ear
  • external auditory canal, which connects the outer ear to the inside or middle ear
  • tympanic membrane, also called the eardrum, which divides the external ear from the middle ear

The middle ear (tympanic cavity), which consists of:

  • ossicles, three small bones that are connected and transmit sound waves to the inner ear. These bones are called malleus, incus, and stapes.
  • the eustachian tube, a canal that links the middle ear with the throat area. The eustachian tube helps to equalize pressure between the middle ear and the air around you. Equal pressure is necessary for the proper transfer of sound waves. The eustachian tube is lined with mucous membrane, just like the inside of the nose and throat.

The inner ear consists of:

  • the cochlea, which contains the receptors for hearing
  • the vestibule, which contains the receptors for balance
  • semicircular canals, which contain the receptors for balance

MouthThe Mouth

Also known as the oral cavity, it contains many other organs such as the tongue and teeth that works together to ingest food as well as help with speech production.

  • Jaw: depending on the position of your jaws – whether it’s open or closed or how far back – the sound produced can vary.
  • Tongue: covered by mucosa, a moist tissue, on the entire surface. The position of your tongue will also vary the sound produced.
  • Lip: it is a tactile sensory organ that can help with food intake as well as speech production.

The Throat


The throat is a ring-like muscular tube that acts as the passageway for air, food, and liquid. The throat also helps in forming speech. The throat consists of:

  • Larynx: (also known as the voice box) a cylindrical grouping of cartilage, muscles, and soft tissue that contains the vocal cords. The vocal cords are the upper opening into the windpipe (trachea), the passageway to the lungs.
  • Epiglottis: a flap of soft tissue located just above the vocal cords. The epiglottis folds down over the vocal cords to help prevent food and irritants from entering the lungs.
  • Tonsils and adenoids: made up of lymph tissue and located at the back of the nose and the sides of the mouth. They protect against infection, but generally have little purpose beyond childhood.