chapter  1
40 Pages

Ears

ByMarie Lyons

The external ear consists of the pinna and the outer ear canal (see Figure 1.1). The outer third of the ear canal is cartilaginous, hair-bearing and wax-producing. It is also not particularly sensitive, which makes it relatively easy to inspect with an auroscope. The inner third is bony and exquisitely sensitive. Push too deep into the bony ear canal and the patient will certainly protest! The outer ear canal ends at the eardrum, which in a healthy ear is a pale grey structure (see Figure 1.2). The most obvious features are the handle of the malleus and antero-inferiorly the cone of light (see below). When you are shown a picture of the eardrum you can always identify which side it is on by the direction in which the malleus is pointing. If the eardrum is on the right side, the malleus will point upwards and superiorly to the right from the middle of the eardrum. If it is on the left side, the malleus will point to the left (amaze your boss at quizzes!).