The physics of the ear.

The ear also plays a role in maintaining physical stability and balance of the body.

The size of the outer ear differs considerably among mammals—from the large floppy ears of the hare to the smaller ones for humans—though there is not much difference in its internal functioning across species. The size of the ear canal is determined by the skin, cartilage and bone formation at this location. Since there is no growth of cartilage in adulthood, the size of the ear canal remains unchanged. However, the outer ear grows in size through adulthood. Ferrario VF. Sforza C. et al., (19(4):226-33, 1999.) calculated the length of the left exterior ear from apex to the lowest part with a transparent ruler. the result (in mms) as well as the patients age, were noted. The results established that as humans grew older the outer ear correspondingly increased in size.

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The outer ear (pinna or auricle) is the part visible to us. Its main function is to collect sound waves and filter them. so the larger it is, it collects more sound waves and focuses them in the right direction. However, this part is not vital to hearing. Besides, the pinna plays no role in the ear’s function of providing the sense of balance. The outer ear also consists of the ear canal, where wax is produced. Earwax protects the canal by means of the chemicals it contains that keep infections at bay, and also by acting as a barrier to collect dirt, which keeps the ear canal clean. (3 D Ear-Website)

The middle ear receives sound waves that move through the ear canal to reach it. The middle ear converts sound waves into vibrations delivered to the inner ear. It does this through the eardrum (tympanum) which is a thin piece of skin stretched tight. The eardrum separates the outer ear from the middle ear and the ossicles, which are the three smallest and most delicately crafted bones in the body. 

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