All Ears

These uniquely designed features come with their own distinct health issues.
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All Ears
Though their ears are similarly complex in structure, unlike some species, such as dogs, horses aren’t susceptible to many ear problems.| Photo: iStock

The equine ear is a marvel of utility. No need for a horse to turn his head toward the origin of a sound; he can simply swivel his ear to pick it up. Equine ears also show emotions such as affability, apprehension, and anger, which help us understand them better.

The equine outer ear includes the pinna (ear flap) and the external auditory canal (the cuplike ear canal). The pinnae collect sound waves and channel them into the external auditory canal to the middle ear. Here the ossicles (auditory bones) transmit the tympanic membrane’s (eardrum’s) resulting movements to the inner ear. The inner ear, which includes the auditory nerve, cochlea, and labyrinth, transfers the waves into nerve impulses, which are sent to the brain’s hearing center. 

Though their ears are similarly complex in structure, unlike some species, such as dogs, horses aren’t susceptible to many ear problems. We’ll describe a few that can crop up

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Written by:

Sharon Biggs Waller is a freelance writer for equine ­science and human interest publications. Her work has appeared in several publications and on several websites, and she is a classical dressage instructor.

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