outer ear diagramThe outer ear comes in all types of shapes and sizes. This structure helps to give each of us our unique appearance. The medical term for the outer ear is the auricle or pinna.

The outer ear is made up of cartilage and skin. There are three different parts to the outer ear; the tragus, helix and the lobule.

The ear canal starts at the outer ear and ends at the ear drum. The canal is approximately an inch in length. The skin of the ear canal is very sensitive to pain and pressure. Under the skin the outer one third of the canal is cartilage and inner two thirds is bone.

The ear drum is about the size of a dime and is the same size in the new born baby as in the adult. The medical term for the ear drum is the tympanic membrane. The ear drum is a transparent gray membrane. Attached to the center part of the drum is the middle ear bone (the malleus).

The space inside the ear drum is called the middle ear. Three of the smallest bones of the body are found in the middle ear; they are called the malleus, the incus and the stapes. These bones are also known as the hammer, anvil and the stirrup. The medical term for all three bones together is the middle ear ossicles.
middle ear diagram