The Ear and the iPod: a perfect fit!

The wonders of the natural world are many, and the living body includes countless amazing features (and, admittedly, some not-so-amazing ones as well). Today I give due homage to a piece of truly elegant design: the perfect match of the outer ear to the iPod’s earphones!

iPod Earphone

The earphones’ convenient usage stems from the presence of those details of ear anatomy that form a perfect keyhole structure to hold the earbud in place just against the opening of the ear canal. The structure echoes (after a 180 degree turn) that seen on the backs of many wall-mounted household objects, like the fan seen in the photo below.

Ear and KeyholeOuter Ear Anatomy

In case you wondered, the small folds in the outer ear’s convolutions that make this possible are called the Tragus and Anti-Tragus, as seen in this detailed illustration from Gray’s Anatomy. They hold the earphone’s round body in a snug fit against the suitably sized Concha.

We humans may not have the most impressive ears (just ask a bat, or a rabbit, or an elephant) but we certainly come pre-customized to hear our favorite music on the go!

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