Anatomy and orientation of the human external ear

J Am Acad Audiol. 1997 Dec;8(6):383-90.


A knowledge of the external ear and tympanic membrane is essential to practicing audiologists. This article provides an introduction to the anatomy of this area including dimensions, orientation, vasculature, innervation, and relations to other structures. Traditional diagrams are often inadequate in describing these structures. For example, typical frontal and sagittal views of the external auditory meatus do not adequately describe its anteroposterior course. Axial (transverse) views provide easier visualization of these areas. A nomenclature is also provided for areas and angles of the external auditory meatus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carotid Artery, External / physiology
  • Ear Canal / anatomy & histology
  • Ear Canal / innervation
  • Ear Canal / physiology
  • Ear, External / anatomy & histology*
  • Ear, External / blood supply
  • Ear, External / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Sebaceous Glands / physiology
  • Temporal Arteries / physiology
  • Tympanic Membrane / anatomy & histology
  • Tympanic Membrane / innervation
  • Tympanic Membrane / physiology