The auricula or pinna is the expanded portion of the external ear. It projects from the side of the head and serves to collect the vibrations of the air by which sound is produced.
The Auricula or Pinna is of an ovoid form, with its larger end directed upward.
Its lateral surface is irregularly concave, directed slightly forward, and presents numerous eminences and depressions to which names have been assigned.
- The prominent rim of the auricula is called the helix; where the helix turns downward behind, a small tubercle, the auricular tubercle of Darwin, is frequently seen; this tubercle is very evident about the sixth month of fetal life when the whole auricula has a close resemblance to that of some of the adult monkeys.
- Another curved prominence, parallel with and in front of the helix, is called the antihelix; this divides above into two crura, between which is a triangular depression, the fossa triangularis.
- The narrow-curved depression between the helix and the antihelix is called the scapha; the antihelix describes a curve around a deep, capacious cavity, the concha, which is partially divided into two parts by the crus or commencement of the helix; the upper part is termed the cymba conchæ, the lower part the cavum conchæ. In front of the concha, and projecting backward over the meatus, is a small pointed eminence, the tragus, so called from its being generally covered on its under surface with a tuft of hair, resembling a goat’s beard.
- Opposite the tragus, and separated from it by the intertragic notch, is a small tubercle, the antitragus. Below this is the lobule, composed of tough areolar and adipose tissues, and wanting the firmness and elasticity of the rest of the auricula.
The cranial surface of the auricula presents elevations which correspond to the depressions on its lateral surface and after which they are named, e. g., eminentia conchæ, eminentia triangularis, etc.
Structure.—The auricula is composed of a thin plate of yellow fibrocartilage, covered with integument, and connected to the surrounding parts by ligaments and muscles; and to the commencement of the external acoustic meatus by fibrous tissue.
The skin is thin, closely adherent to the cartilage, and covered with fine hairs furnished with sebaceous glands, which are most numerous in the concha and scaphoid fossa. On the tragus and antitragus the hairs are strong and numerous. The skin of the auricula is continuous with that lining the external acoustic meatus.