Ears that stick out are a common cosmetic concern for parents of young children because they can lead to bullying. However, many adults can also have ears that protrude, often from childhood. For many people, it is slight or simply not a concern. Though, others may feel more self-conscious and go to great lengths to conceal or even temporarily correct protruding ears. So, what causes ears to stick out and how can it be corrected?
Most people with ears that protrude more than 2cm out from the head are born with such a condition. It is typically due to an underdeveloped antihelical fold. This does not cause any hearing loss or health problems in most people and is considered largely a cosmetic versus a medical problem. In rarer cases, stick out ears could be the result of some sort of injury or trauma.
To correct congenital protruding ears, otoplasty is the best option. The surgical procedure pins the ears back into a more “natural” position. It can be performed in young children to prevent bullying, or even in older kids or adults. Otoplasty surgery is quick, comes with minimal recovery, and results are usually permanent.
Dr. Jonov is a cosmetic surgeon who specializes in plastic surgeries of the face, breast, and body at Seattle Plastic Surgery.