Long gone are the days when lengthy tresses were fashionable for both men and women. Remember when many an imperfection could be hidden by one's thick locks, like skin blemishes, overly bushy eyebrows and other unflattering features? Today, hair is shorter and such faults stick out like a sore thumb. So if you've got big protruding ears, there's no way to hide them.
Jutting out on either side of your head, regular-sized or larger, they seem to be constantly in the spotlight even when you're not. There may even be asymmetry, where one ear sticks out while the other remains flat against the head. Only a small percentage of the world's population has protruding ears but in most cases, those with the condition are subjected to the same treatment. Children who have them are mocked from an early age because they tend to grow to their full size before many other parts of the body. Through adolescence, they continue to be subjected to insults and teasing, and later on in adulthood, professional and social lives can be seriously affected. And all because of protruding ears, considered unattractive in many societies. For the afflicted, this is not a joke; the stigma attached to the condition can profoundly affect their self esteem and happiness.
If you've got protruding or projecting ears, it is most likely because of genetics, trauma, or an underlying health condition affecting the external ear. In the medical field, ear protrusion is considered an abnormality and deformity. They can be caused by many factors, such as abnormal folds or shapes of the ear's concha or scapha, and an enlarged lobe. A problem with the cartilage is most often blamed.
What are the concha and scapha you ask?
The concha is the area just near the ear canal, usually in the shape of a bowl or shell. The scapha is at the edge of the ear, where it gently curves inwards.
Many people with protruding ears are the masters of disguise: hairbands, clever hairstyles, and an assortment of hats and head wear for any occasion complete a collection of props to hide an embarrassing physical feature. Others deal with the problem in more sophisticated ways, using miracle cures or strange contraptions to pin or stick back the ears to the head. Needless to say at the end of the day, their ears will still jut out as usual, much to the chagrin of sufferers.
The bad news is that there is no existing non-surgical solution for protruding ears that produces as effective and successful results as surgical methods. Non-surgical solutions are very temporary and usually only disappointing, wasting time and money.
The good news is that all is not lost in the war against protruding ears! There is a surgical way to get rid of them. Pinnaplasty, an otoplasty procedure that pins back the ears to prevent them from jutting out, is the most effective and is essentially permanent.
In most pinnaplasty surgery, the physician adjusts the cartilage of the ear through an incision, made in the area where the ear meets the head. Children can benefit from otoplasty after a specific age, when their ears no longer grow but the cartilage remains soft and pliable enough to adjust and shape.