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The auricle is also known as the pinna, and it is most commonly referred to as the ear. It is the most obviously visible part of the auditory system.

An auricle consists of skin over contoured cartilage, and it is held in place by muscles and ligaments. Shape may differ by body type and person. Auricles are located on both sides of the head, near the temple and where the jaw meets the skull.

Each ear is subdivided into the several regions. These include the lobule, the concha, the scafoid fossa, and other parts.

The ear is the first part of the body to come in contact with auditory stimuli. Sound waves must pass over the auricle before entering the ear canal. Then, the waves pass through the tympanic membrane (eardrum) and into the middle ear. There, the sound waves vibrate a series of bones known as the ossicles. These vibrations pass into the liquid-filled inner ear, where sounds are converted into signals sent to the brain via the nervous system.

There are several common problems associated with piercing of the auricle. These include infection, tearing, and large scars called Keloid scars. Cauliflower ear is another condition of the auricle, where the ear becomes deformed, usually as a result of trauma. Cauliflower ear is often associated with wrestling.

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

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