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Otitis Externa


Overview :

The external ear canal is a tube approximately 1 in (2.5 cm) in length. It runs from the outside opening of the ear to the start of the middle ear, designated by the ear drum or tympanic membrane. The canal is partly cartilage and partly bone. In early childhood, the first two-thirds of the canal is made of cartilage, and the last one-third is made of bone. By late childhood, and lasting throughout all of adulthood, this proportion is reversed, so that the first one-third is cartilage, and the last two-thirds is bone. The lining of the ear canal is skin, which is attached directly to the covering of the bone. Glands within the skin of the canal produce a waxy substance called cerumen (popularly called earwax). Cerumen is designed to protect the ear canal, repel water, and keep the ear canal too acidic to allow bacteria to grow.




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