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The oval window (or fenestra vestibuli) is a membrane-covered opening that leads from the middle ear to the vestibule of the inner ear.

Oval window
Blausen 0330 EarAnatomy MiddleEar.png
Middle ear, with oval window at right.
Right osseous labyrinth. Lateral view (label is vestibular fenestra — black circle near center)
LatinFenestra vestibuli,
fenestra ovalis
Anatomical terminology

Vibrations that contact the tympanic membrane travel through the three ossicles and into the inner ear. The oval window is the intersection of the middle ear with the inner ear and is directly contacted by the stapes; by the time vibrations reach the oval window, they have been amplified over 10 times[1] from what they were when they contacted the tympanic membrane, a testament to the amplifying power of the middle ear.

It is a reniform (kidney-shaped) opening leading from the tympanic cavity into the vestibule of the internal ear; its long diameter is horizontal and its convex border is upward. It is occupied by the base of the stapes, the circumference of which is fixed by the annular ligament to the margin of the foramen.

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  1. ^ Moore and Dalley. Clinically Oriented Anatomy. 4th edition; 1999. p 971.

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