Ear external: structure, function. Inflammation of the outer ear of a person

Rumor is one of the important sensory organs. It is with the help of it that we perceive the slightest changes in the surrounding world, we hear alarm signals warning of danger. The hearing organ is very important for all living organisms, although there are some that do without it.

In a human, the auditory analyzer includes the outer, middle and inner ear, from them along the auditory nerve the information goes to the brain where it is processed. In the article we will dwell on the structure, functions and diseases of the external ear.

The structure of the outer ear

The human ear consists of several departments:

  • External.
  • Middle ear.
  • Internal.

The outer ear includes:

  • Ear concha.
  • Auditory meatus.
  • The tympanic membrane.

Beginning with the most primitive vertebrate animals, which developed a hearing, the structure of the ear gradually became more complicated. This is due to the overall increase in the organization of animals. For the first time the external ear appears in mammals. In nature there are some species of birds with auricle, for example, a long-eared owl.


The outer ear of a person begins with the auricle. It almost entirely consists of cartilaginous tissue about 1 mm thick. Does not have in its structure of cartilage only the ear lobe: it consists of adipose tissue and is covered with skin.

The outer ear has a concave shape with a curl at the edge. It is separated by a small depression from the inner counter-cuff, from which a cavity of the auricle goes to the side of the ear canal. At the entrance to the ear passage is a tragus.

Auditory Passage

The next department that has an external ear, - auditory meatus. It is a tube 2.5 centimeters long and 0.9 centimeters in diameter. At its base is a cartilage resembling a trough in its form opening upward. In the cartilaginous tissue there are santoric cracks that border on the salivary gland.

The cartilage is only in the initial section of the passage, then it passes into the bone tissue. The ear canal itself is slightly curved in the horizontal direction, so when viewed by a doctor in adults, the auricle pulls back and up, and in children - back and down.

There are sebaceous and sulfuric glands inside the ear canal that produce earwax. The chewing process contributes to its removal, during which the walls of the passage oscillate.

The ear canal ends with the tympanic membrane, which blindly closes it.


Connects the outer and middle ear of the eardrum to each other. It is a semi-transparent plate with a thickness of only 0.1 mm, its area is about 60 mm2.

The tympanic membrane is arranged slightly relative to the ear canal slightly inclined and drawn in the form of a funnel into the cavity. The greatest tension it has in the center. Behind her is the middle ear.

Features of the external ear structure in infants

When the baby is born, its hearing organ is not fully formed yet, and the structure of the outer ear has a number of distinctive features:

  1. The auricle is soft.
  2. The earlobe and curl are almost not expressed, they are formed only to 4 years.
  3. There is no bone part in the auditory canal.
  4. The walls of the passage are almost next to each other.
  5. The tympanic membrane is located horizontally.
  6. The eardrum does not differ in size from that of adults, but it is much thicker and covered with a mucous membrane.

The child grows, and with it the development of the hearing organ takes place. Gradually, he acquires all the features of an adult auditory analyzer.

Functions of the external ear

Each department of the auditory analyzer performs its function. The outer ear is intended primarily for the following purposes:

  • Receiving sound waves.
  • The auricle helps concentration of sounds that come from different sides of the space.
  • The external ear amplifies the sound signal.
  • The protective function is to protect the tympanic membrane from mechanical and thermal influences.
  • Keeps constant temperature and humidity.

Thus, the functions of the outer ear are quite diverse, and the auricle serves us not only for beauty.

Inflammatory process in the outer ear

Quite often colds end with an inflammatory process inside the ear. This problem is especially acute in children, since the auditory tube is short in size, and the infection can quickly penetrate into the ear from the nasal cavity or throat.

In everyone, inflammation in the ears can manifest itself in different ways, it all depends on the form of the disease. There are several types:

  • Otitis externa.
  • Average.
  • Internal.

You can cope at home with only the first two varieties, but internal otitis requires in-patient treatment.

If we consider external otitis, it can also be of two forms:

  • Limited.
  • Diffuse.

The first form occurs, usually as a result of inflammation of the hair follicle in the ear canal. In some ways, this is an ordinary boil, but only in the ear.

The diffuse form of the inflammatory process covers the entire passageway.

Causes of otitis

There are a lot of reasons that can provoke an inflammatory process in the external ear, but among them there are often the following:

  1. Bacterial infection.
  2. Fungal disease.
  3. Allergic problems.
  4. Wrong oral hygiene.
  5. Self-contained attempt to remove ear plugs.
  6. Contact with foreign bodies.
  7. Viral nature, although this happens very rarely.

The cause of external ear pain in healthy people

It is not necessary at all, if there is pain in the ear, the diagnosis is "otitis."Often such pain can also occur for other reasons:

  1. Walking in windy weather without a headdress can provoke pain in the ear. The auricle is pressurized by the wind and a bruise is formed, the skin becomes bluish. This condition passes quickly after getting into a warm room, treatment is not required.
  2. Swimmers also have earaches - a frequent companion. Because during the exercises water gets into the ears and irritates the skin, it can lead to swelling or external otitis.
  3. Excessive accumulation of sulfur in the ear canal can cause not only a feeling of congestion, but also pain.
  4. Insufficient secretion of sulfur by sulfur glands, on the contrary, is accompanied by a feeling of dryness, which can also cause pain.

As a rule, if otitis does not develop, all unpleasant sensations in the ear go away independently and do not require additional treatment.

Manifestations of external otitis

If the doctor diagnoses a lesion of the ear canal and auricle, a diagnosis is made - external otitis media. Its manifestations can be as follows:

  • Pain varies from intensity, from very little noticeable to disturbing sleep at night.
  • This state can last several days, and then cease.
  • In the ears there is a feeling of stuffiness, itching, noise.
  • During the inflammatory process, the acuity of hearing can be reduced.
  • Since otitis is an inflammatory disease, body temperature can rise.
  • Skin around the ear can acquire a reddish tint.
  • When pressed on the ear, the pain intensifies.

Inflammation of the outer ear should be treated by an ENT doctor. After examining the patient and determining the stage and severity of the disease, medications are prescribed.

Limited otitis therapy

Treatment of this form of the disease is usually performed surgically. After the introduction of an anesthetic drug, the furuncle is opened and the pus removed. Even after this procedure, the patient's condition is significantly improved.

Some time will have to take antibacterial medications in the form of drops or ointments, for example:

  • "Normaks."
  • "Candybiotic".
  • "Levomekol".
  • "Celestoderm-B".

Usually, after a course of antibiotics, everything comes back to normal, and the patient completely recovers.

Diffuse otitis therapy

Treatment of this form of the disease is only conservative. All medications are prescribed by a doctor. Usually the course includes a set of measures:

  1. Reception of antibacterial drops, for example, "Ofloxacin", "Neomycin".
  2. Anti-inflammatory drops "Otipax" or "Otirelaks".
  3. Antihistamines( "Citrine", "Claritin") help to remove swelling.
  4. For the removal of the pain syndrome prescribe NIP, for example, "Diclofenac", "Nurofen".
  5. For the increase of immunity, the reception of vitamin-mineral complexes is indicated.

During treatment, it must be remembered that any warming procedures are contraindicated, they can only be prescribed by a doctor at the stage of recovery. If all the recommendations of the doctor are met and passed the full course of therapy, then you can be sure that the outer ear will be healthy.

Treatment of otitis in children

In children, physiology is such that the inflammatory process is very quickly transferred from the nasal cavity to the ear. If you notice in time that the child is concerned about the ear, then the treatment will be short and uncomplicated.

The doctor usually does not prescribe antibiotics. The whole therapy consists in taking antipyretic medications and pain medications. Parents can be advised not to engage in self-medication, and adhere to the recommendations of a doctor.

Drops that are bought on the recommendation of girlfriends, can only harm your child. When the baby is sick, the appetite usually decreases. You can not force him to eat through strength, it is better to give more drink, so that toxins are eliminated from the body.

If the child is too often more otitis, there is reason to talk with the pediatrician about the vaccination. In many countries, this vaccination is already being done, it will protect the outer ear from the inflammatory processes that are caused by bacteria.

Prevention of inflammatory diseases of the external ear

Any inflammation of the external ear can be prevented. For this, only some simple recommendations must be observed:

  • Correct hygiene of the ears. You need to clean your ear with chopsticks, but you can not put them into your ear for more than half a centimeter, so as not to advance the sulfur even further.
  • Do not use pins, hairpins, or ear-cleaning matches.
  • If you find sulfur plugs, do not try to extract them from your ear yourself.
  • It is necessary to ensure that children do not put anything in their ears, and this happens often enough.
  • During water procedures it is desirable to protect the ears from water ingress. This recommendation applies especially to swimming in open water.
  • Strengthen immunity, because very often otitis occurs, as a complication of colds.

If the pain in the ear does not cause much anxiety, this does not mean that you do not need to see a doctor. Running inflammation can result in much more serious problems. Timely treatment will quickly cope with the otitis of the external ear and relieve the suffering.