Initially, the anatomy of the three divisions of the ear (external ear, middle ear, and inner ear) will be studied (Figure 30.1). Subsequently, the facial nerve (CN VII) within the temporal bone will be observed. Although the size of certain structures to be studied in the middle ear and inner ear are small, they can be observed by use of the hammer and chisel, instruments used by early practicing otologists.
Due to the imprecise fracture planes resulting from the use of the chisel and hammer, each temporal bone dissection will be unique. A collective examination of all the temporal bone dissections will yield a general overview of the anatomy of the ear and the orientation of the facial nerve.