Anatomy of the Ear - Martial Arts Vital Point

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Anatomy of the Ear - Martial Arts Vital Point

This page focuses on the underlying anatomy of the ear. The ear is one of the vital points that can be targeted in a self-defense situation. An example of a self-defense technique that targets this vital point is the Ear Clap.

Ear Structure

  • Pinna also called the Auricle: Is the outer portion of the ear consisting of cartilage covered in skin, its purpose being to catch sound and direct it inside of the ear. Surrounding the cartilage of the ear but beneath the skin is a layer of perichondrium which supplies the cartilage with fluid and blood.
  • Auditory Canal: Is the region inside of the ear before the ear drum. This is the part of the ear that produces ear wax for lubrication and cleaning of the canal, which is about an inch long and about a quarter inch in diameter.
  • Tympanic Membrane (ear drum): Is a cone shaped membrane with the point of the cone pointing towards the inside of the ear and connecting to the small bones of the ear. The purpose of the ear drum is to catch the sound vibrations in the air and convert them to liquid vibrations through the bones. It is situated at an angle making it slightly larger than the diameter of the auditory canal and only a 0.1mm thick but composed of a cutaneous, fibrous, and mucus layer making it very durable.
  • Ossicles (Malleus, Incus, Stapes): These are the three tiny bones of the ear that transfer vibrations from the ear drum to the cochlea.
  • Cochlea: Is the hollow, circular, bony structure in the ear that uses hairs and fluid to convert the physical sound vibrations into electrical impulses. The fluid and the hairs together allow for detailed interpretation of the sound such as amplification of focusing on soft sounds and potential differences along the curve of the structure to determine things like direction of the sound and other details.
  • Semicircular Canals: These are fluid filled tubes oriented at different angles, inside of which there are hairlike projections that gauge the movement of the fluid and with its three axis give you a sense of balance and location.
  • Vestibular Nerve: This is the nerve that carries balance signalling to the brain.
  • Auditory Nerve: This is the nerve that carries sound signalling to the brain.
  • Eustachian Tube: This is a hollow tube running from the middle ear to the pharynx and allows for equilibrium of pressure on either side of the ear drum.



Ear Anatomy

Picture Source: Wikimedia Commons

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