The outer ear is the organ outside the skull. Its intricate shape collects sound waves and funnels them into the ear canal and then onto the eardrum, which separates the outer and inner ear. The membrane of the eardrum is taut, like a drum skin, and vibrates in response to the sound waves. These vibrations then pass on to three tiny bones in the middle ear known as the hammer, anvil and stirrup. These bones are responsible for transmitting sound waves from the eardrum to the inner ear.