The ear has two functions, hearing and, in mammals, balance which is, at first sight to the majority of us, weird! Why use the ears for our balance mechanisms?
Although not a thing of beauty in themselves, the ears are often mentioned erotically and of course, the ear has been adorned by earrings and other jewelry in numerous cultures for thousands of years, and has been, and still is, subjected to many surgical and cosmetic alterations.
Sttrangely enough, your ears never stop growing as we age and in fact, continue to grow until the day you die. Not only does the cartilage in the ears grow, but the earlobes elongate from gravity. And that makes the ears look even larger.
The ear has external, middle, and inner portions. The outer ear is called the pinna and is made of ridged cartilage covered by skin. Sound funnels through the pinna into the external auditory canal, a short tube that ends at the eardrum (tympanic membrane).
Sound causes the eardrum and its tiny attached bones in the middle portion of the ear to vibrate, and the vibrations are conducted to the nearby cochlea. The spiral-shaped cochlea is part of the inner ear; it transforms sound into nerve impulses that travel to the brain.
The fluid-filled semi-circular canals (labyrinth) attach to the cochlea and nerves in the inner ear. They send information on balance and head position to the brain. The eustachian (auditory) tube drains fluid from the middle ear into the throat behind the nose.