One of the most common birth abnormalities, protruding ears is when a person’s ears are oversized, projecting out more than the average distance from the head. Producing what some call “Dumbo ears.” Protruding ears can come in many forms and for different reasons and can occur at birth and as a person ages. Some ears can protrude from the ear lobe, creating abnormally elongated lobes. In other cases, the upper portion of the ear can fall over, looking like a flopped-over ear. Also, as a person ages, the cartilage of the ear can build up, creating the appearance of protruding ears. Nonetheless, having protruding ears can be an embarrassing feature for a person to live with, and in many cases, having a “Dumbo like” appearance is often a cause of bullying in children.
Can Protruding Ears Affect Your Hearing?
Luckily, there are no functional problems associated with protruding ears, and the size of your ears doesn’t determine a person’s ability to hear. However, the psychological distress caused by this aesthetic condition is considerable. Having prominent ears can have a negative effect on a person’s self-esteem and confidence, leading to a reduced quality of life. With children, social avoidance can occur, along with poor school performance.
While protruding ears are often perceived as a negative physical attribute, especially from children, there can be a remedy for this problem. A procedure called an “otoplasty” can help remedy and fix protruding ears. During this cosmetic ear surgery, an incision is made behind the ear, and the fold is reshaped so the ears can be pulled closer to the head. An otoplasty takes about 2 to 3 hours to complete, and most people recover fully in about five days. Undergoing an otoplasty is a small price to pay, but in many instances, it has a positive effect on a person’s self-confidence and esteem. However, if taken care of early enough, a non-surgical method called ear molding can be done because the child’s ears are still soft. With this method, the ears are splinted by the mold to reshape the ear and bring it closer to the head. While recovery time varies with this method, the amount of time required depends on the age of the child.