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 and descends into the root of the auricle. The other muscles in this region include the auricularis posterior and the auricularis anterior. In the human being, these three muscles do very little action. 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 latin term pinna is another word for auricula or auricle, which refers to the externally visible cartilaginous structure of the external ear. The temporal branch of the facial nerve innervates all three auricularis muscles. Ear auricles collect sounds from the environment. Due to the fact that the auricle sits on the outside of the body, it is prone to injury and trauma. Injuries to the ear can range from simple lacerations to complete avulsion. 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
In Depth: Auricularis superior