You might want to be all ears with this one.
Have you ever noticed that few people have a tiny hole above their ears? No, it’s not a piercing, but it is something they are born with.
That itsy-bitsy hole is a congenital disorder called preauricular sinus. Sometimes called the preauricular pit, preauricular cyst, or preauricular fissure, this is harmless but prone to infection. This will be music to your ears because the infection is treatable with antibiotics.
As discussed by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, these pits could be repeatedly infected, leading to benign cysts or pus-filled abscesses. Keep an ear out for what the doctors suggest: people with repeated infections should undergo minor surgery to remove the preauricular sinus.
How did this hole come about? This sinus is caused by the first and second pharyngeal arches, and usually occurs in the fetal development stage. Later on, the said arches become structures of the head and neck in mammals, but become gills for fishes.
According to Neil Shubin, an evolutionary biologist, this hole could be an “evolutionary remnant of fish gills.” This theory is not yet validated so no need to hole up. Yet.
Considering that humans have tailbones, shriveling fingers, and appendixes of unknown function, it is possible that this preauricular sinus came from our non-human ancestors.
The existence of preauricular sinus was first reported in 1864, based on records of the US National Library of Medicine.
There are only a few people who have a preauricular sinus. In the study published by the Korean Journal of Audiology, 4 to 10 percent of the Asian and African population possesses this extra hole. For Korea, this is higher at 5 percent. This disorder is more common in people of Asian or African descent. Why? Probably because of genetics since this condition is hereditary.
In the UK, only 0.9 percent has this preauricular sinus, while for US, it’s lower at only 0.1 percent.
Do you or anyone you know have a preauricular sinus? Has it caused any problems? Share your thoughts with us and other netizens in the comments section below!