Auricularis superior

The auricularis superior is one of three extrinsic muscles of the ear. It is a thin, fan-shaped muscle that arises from the temporal fascia (connective tissue along the side of the head) and descends into the root of the auricle, or ear. The other muscles in this region include the auricularis posterior and the auricularis anterior.

In humans, these three muscles do very little action but all effect the auricula. The Latin term pinna is another word for auricula or auricle, which refers to the externally visible, cartilaginous structure of the external ear (the part we usually refer to as the ear). The primary action of the auricularis superior is to draw the auricula of the ear upward and backward. The action of the auricularis anterior is to draw the auricula forward and upward. The auricularis posterior serves to draw the auricula backward.

The temporal branch of the facial nerve provides nerves to all three auricularis muscles. Ear auricles collect sounds from the environment. Due to the fact that the auricle is situated outside of the core body, it is prone to injury and trauma. Injuries to the ear can range from simple lacerations to complete detachment. In other animals, the auricularis superior and its related muscles help to pivot the ears in multiple directions towards sounds of interest.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Auricularis superior

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