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Anatomy of the Ear

The ear is made up of three parts: the outer, middle, and inner ear. All three parts of the ear are important for detecting sound by working together to move sound from the outer part through the middle and into the inner part of the ear. Ears also help to maintain balance.

The Outer Ear

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The outer ear includes:

  • auricle (cartilage covered by skin placed on opposite sides of the head)
  • auditory canal (also called the ear canal)
  • eardrum outer layer (also called the tympanic membrane)


The outer part of the ear collects sound. Sound travels through the auricle and the auditory canal, a short tube that ends at the eardrum.

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