Home » Ear Canal Structure, Structure, Function, & Parts

Ear Canal Structure, Structure, Function, & Parts

The external acoustic meatus is also known as the ear canal, or auditory canal is a crucial part of the ear.

The hairy ear canal structure is designed to trap the dust particle from the external surrounding.

There are three main parts of a human ear: Outer Ear, Middle Ear, and Inner Ear.

Ear Canal Structure

The visible external portion of the ear is called Auricle/Pinna, an external auditory canal closed by the Tympanic membrane or eardrum.

The outer portion collects sound waves and sends them to the eardrum.

These sound waves are sent to the middle ear, where the Ossicular chain consisting of three tiny bones named Incus, malleus, and Stapes, send it to the inner ear.

These bones are crucial to adjust the sound energy. Within the inner ear, semicircular canals are present, which help in balancing the body posture.

The sound vibrations produce near the cochlea, the fluid-filled labyrinth, the middle ear. They ultimately send the Information towards the brain for

balancing and head positioning.

Furthermore, a narrow passage from the middle ear to the pharynx known as the Eustachian tube is present to equalize the pressure on each side of the eardrum.

Earache

Earache is a common problem, which may be dull or sharp. It may occur due to excess earwax or suddenly changing air pressure.

The most common cause of earache is the impacted wax, which is treated using over-the-counter ear drops,

Which drains out the extra ear wax by making it soft.

Please make sure not to use cotton swabs or, likewise, things to drain out the excess earwax

Because it may further push the wax inside the auditory

canal, causing more damage.

Otitis media is a group of Middle ear infections, most common in young children. It is usually an infection of ear tissues, specifically of the

the eardrum, or malfunctioning of the Eustachian tube.

Otitis Media

Its symptoms include fullness, pressure, neck and ear pain, sleeplessness, and fever.

Swimmer’s Ear (Otitis Externa)

The Otitis Externa, an infection of the human ear canal, is commonly known as Swimmer’s ear. Usually, it is a bacterial infection.

Whereas sometimes It can be a viral or fungal infection due to a moisture trap.

Skin infection in Otitis Externa can arise by using cosmetic products like hair dyes

And conditioners, containing various chemicals causing allergic reactions, infected jewelry, extensively using a hearing aid, or sticking stuff in the ear.

Common symptoms of Otitis Externa are irritation, itchiness, muffled or troubled hearing, and sometimes pus drains out of the ear.

In such situations, Antibacterial or antifungal solutions like white vinegar and alcohol can be helpful.

Meniere’s Disease

Feeling ear pain, dizziness, ringing in the ear, and spinning the head is a type of inner infection known as Meniere’s disease.

Usually, only one ear feels the pressure and is affected. A feeling of fullness and pressure sometimes lead to permanent hearing loss as well.

Tinnitus

Tinnitus is the feeling of ringing, whistling, humming, peeping, or similar sounds in the ears.

This condition can be occasional or continuous. Prolonged exposure to loud sounds is the ultimate cause of Tinnitus.

The sound-sensitive cells of the cochlea may be badly affected under this condition.

Cerumen (Ear Wax) Impaction

It is the buildup of ear wax in the ear and causes the symptoms like fullness and feeling pressure in the ear accompanied by ear pain.

Moreover, physical examination can be complex around the auricle and lymph nodes due to internal infection or inflammation.

It can be treated by carrying out home care and particular ear drops per consultation of the doctors.

Ruptured Eardrum

Tympanic membrane perforation, commonly known as the ruptured eardrum, is a hole or tear in the eardrum.

It causes severe infection in the middle ear and can result in conductive hearing loss and feeling stress on the facial nerve.

Acoustic Neuroma

Acoustic neuroma is a type of benign tumor that develops on the eighth cranial nerve, which is involved in sending balance impulses from the inner ear to the brain.

This tumor isn’t much danger, but it may put pressure on the nerve causing imbalanced posture and conductive hearing loss if untreated.

Mastoiditis

Mastoiditis is a severe bacterial infection in the mastoid process. The mastoid is the part of the temporal bone located just behind the ear.

It contains air cells and helps in-ear pressure regulation, and protects the temporal bone as well.

The common symptoms include ear pain behind the Pinna, redness, swelling, and sometimes temporary hearing loss.

However, the condition is rare and occasional but can be dangerous if left untreated.

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is a temporary disorder of the inner ear caused by sudden movements like rolling over the bed tipping

The head up and down or quickly arising from the bed. Symptoms include dizziness, head spinning, nausea, and vomiting.

Cholesteatoma

Cholesteatoma is the abnormal growth of skin resulting in the formation of a cyst behind the eardrum.

Initially, external ear canal Cholesteatoma is the buildup of ear wax and skin, producing a lump on the eardrum or a retraction pocket in the eardrum.

However, external ear canal Cholesteatoma is not very common, and the probability is 1.2/1000 patients.

Ear Treatments

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are used in case of bacterial infection with the consultation of a doctor. It may be taken in the form of pills or ear drops.

The antimicrobial therapy needs to be completed without skipping any dose. Otitis Externa can be cured by using antibiotic ear drops.

Cerumenolytics (Ear-Wax Drops)

Cerumenolytics are the softening agents that soften hardened earwax and quickly drain out of the ear.

Commonly used cerumenolytics are hydrogen peroxide and hydrogen peroxide – urea, which helps remove ear wax.

Irrigation (Lavage)

Using diluted hydrogen peroxide and saltwater helps in curing ear problems and treat cerumen impaction and Otitis Externa.

Moreover, equal parts of white vinegar and rubbing alcohol promote cleaning and drying of the external ear, resulting in the spectacular growth of

bacteria and fungi in ear infections like external otitis.

Antihistamines

Antihistamines are anti-inflammatory drugs or pain relievers, which help to reduce inflammation and congestion in the ear.

Acute otitis externa is easily diagnosed by signs and symptoms of canal inflammation. Therefore, external otitis can be cured by using antibiotics

and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Surgery

Usually, ear infections are cured by medication, but sometimes surgery becomes inevitable.

An operation called a myringotomy creates a small incision in the eardrum, which allows the fluid to drain out and relieve ear pain.

In difficult situations, children with subsequent ear infections may have surgery to place drainage tubes as a permanent cure.

The specialists of Ear, Nose, and Neck surgery handle such cases.

Besides the surgery, alteration in treatment can be practiced by using revolutionary hearing aids available in the market to be used in comfortability.

How Do You know”If Your Ear Canal is Blocked?”

Muffled hearing, irritation, feeling pressure, and fullness can be the signs of a blocked auditory canal.

The blockage is mainly due to buildup or blockage of earwax in the Middle ear or Eustachian Tube.

The untreated blocked auditory canal may cause severe pain in the ear, dizziness, or hearing loss.

How Far Does Your Ear Canal Go?

The adult human auditory canal ear canal is 2.5cm in length and 0.7cm in diameter from the external Pinna to the eardrum.

It is also known as the acoustic meatus.

What You Can Do In the Meantime

The ear is the sensitive and most crucial part of the human body. If you find any issue related to the ear, you must consult a doctor first.

However, specific home remedies can also work in the treatment of minor problems according to your skin condition.

For example, having a cool or warm compress over the external ear through a washcloth, using a heating pad with a moderate temperature,

Or applying a hairdryer blow at the lowest setting can absorb moisture or trapped water droplets and help in relieving the ear pain.

Moreover, pain-relieving ear drops also help in such a condition, but it isn’t recommended without a doctor’s consultation.

How Do” You Treat a Swollen Ear Canal?”

A swollen acoustic meatus can be treated with home care or antibiotics like acetaminophen (Tylenol), Ibuprofen (Advil), Or ear drops after consulting a doctor.

Can You Touch Your Eardrum With Your Finger?

Yes! the eardrum can be touched because it is just 2.5mm away from the external Pinna. The eardrum is a susceptible and delicate part of the ear.

Even extreme vibrations or loud noises can damage it. Putting your finger inside the ear can create a vacuum; this depressurization can damage

Your eardrum as well.

Final Words

Like other mammals, the human ear is the most crucial part of the human body. Not only has it helped in hearing, but also in maintaining posture and equilibrium.

Various ear problems like earache due to excess earwax, Otitis Externa, bacterial or fungal infection, etc., may arise due to specific reasons

Which may be cured by home care like warm treatment, irrigation, cleaning with white vinegar And alcohol, radiation therapy in case of a cancerous

Cyst formation or carrying out medication with doctor consultation.

According to the study on the clinical features of chronic problems, the cure of ear problems is easy, if not neglected, for a long time.

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