External acoustic meatus
The ear canal is a passage comprised of bone and skin leading to the eardrum. The ear is comprised of the ear canal, the middle ear, and the inner ear. Placing pens, toothpicks, or other tubular objects into the ear canal can cause the tympanic membrane, also called the eardrum, to rupture. The ear canal functions as an entryway for sound, which is pushed into the tympanic membrane. When sounds enter the middle ear, they are transmitted to tiny bones called the ossicles, stapes, incus, and the malleus. Sounds are later carried to the inner ear. Therefore, sounds from the ear canal are transformed into waves that are transmitted to the inner ear. During ear reconstruction, the ear canal is packed with material to keep the new ear and skin steady. Eardrops applied daily keep the material in the ear canal moistened. A brownish or greenish foul-smelling drainage emitting from the ear canal can be a sign of infection.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
In Depth: External acoustic meatus