services-banner

Why Do My Ears Stick Out?

Eric Schaffer, MDProtruding ears can be a cosmetic problem that stays with you for life. It doesn’t have to be this way. Here, we discuss the various reasons why someone’s ears may stick out and how otoplasty can resolve them.

Often, a person’s ears protrude because their genetics determine this characteristic. Only one ear may stick out or both may. Typically, ears begin to protrude within a few months of birth. Some babies are born with their ears sticking out noticeably. As the ears, face, and head develop, protrusion may worsen.

What Causes The Ears to Stick Out?

Whether caused by genetics, a birth defect, or trauma, there are anatomical reasons for the ears sticking out. These include:

  • The shape and size of the concheal bowl. The concheal bowl is the shape of the upper, round part of the ear. Protrusion may occur when this part of the ear is larger than average.
  • Ear angle. The connection between the ear and the side of the head is called the concho-scaphal angle. A smaller angle positions the ears closer to the head. A wider angle pushes the ears outward away from the side of the head.
  • A weak fold. The outer edge of the ear is made of cartilage that folds. This is called the anti-helical fold. Weakness in the fold can make the ears look large and protruding.

Not every person who has ears that stick out feel self-conscious about their appearance. Those who do feel uncomfortable may learn to wear hairstyles that disguise the sides of their heads. This is one strategy, but not one that may work very well. Children with ears that protrude are particularly vulnerable to frequent teasing that affects their overall sense of self. Because the ears are usually at physical maturity by age 5, many parents consider otoplasty before their child begins school.

Otoplasty is the ear surgery that pins the ears into a position that fits with the head and face. Surgery is often performed on children aged 5 to 14. However, older teens and adults can also undergo otoplasty. To correct the ear position, the surgeon makes a small incision at the crease behind the ear. How correction occurs depends on the type of anatomical abnormality the patient has. After ear correction, patients may resume light activities in approximately one week. By two weeks, the improvements achieved with surgery are visible.

Learn more about otoplasty surgery for protruding ears. Call our San Antonio office at 210-227-3223.

Posted in: Plastic Surgery

Contact UsRequest an Appointment

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.