This page was last updated: September 17, 2014
Collapsed Ear Canal


Bechara Y. Ghorayeb, MD
Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery

Memorial Hermann Professional Building
1140 Business Center Drive, Suite  560
Houston, Texas 77043
For appointments, call: 713 464 2614
Picture of collapsed external auditory meatus in an elderly patient.

Collapse of the external auditory canal is very common in the elderly (up to 41% in a study by Ronald Show et al.).

The collapse usually involves the outer portion of the canal, right at the anterior edge of the conchal cartilage. It is is a major cause of cerumen impaction and makes it extremely difficult to remove the cerumen from the wider medial portion of the canal. At times, the use of a nasal speculum facilitates the visualization of the eardrum and the introduction of a cerumen curette or the nozzle of an ear syringe. Finally, it is sometimes impossible to introduce a hearing aid into a collapsed ear canal.