• Friday July 10,2020

Protruding ears (ears)

Under the colloquial term of the ears, also known as protruding ears, doctors understand a malformation of the ears. These are clearly visible in a non-standard dimensions from the head. However, the hearing will not be affected.

What are sail ears?

Under the colloquial term of the ears, doctors understand a malformation of the ears.

Protruding ears or ears signify a malformation of the auricles. Officially, the ears are present when the distance between one or both auricles and the head is more than 2 cm. Also, a protrusion of the pinnae at an angle of about 30 ° is considered medically as sail ears.

Experts speak of a dysplasia (malformation) 1st degree. The hearing or the sense of balance of the affected person is not affected by the protruding ears; but it may come under certain circumstances due to the clear visual characteristics to mental stress. Treatment of the ears is only possible by surgery.


The immediate causes of protruding ears are either a lack of training of the Anthelix (the pinna main fold) or a generally too large dropping pinna. In some cases, a combination of both factors is present.

The malformation is due to genetic conditions inherited from parents to their children. If multiple ears have already occurred within a family, there is a relatively high probability that newborn children will also be affected. However, protruding ears are not always inherited equally. The exact reasons for the occurrence of the malformation are not yet known.

Symptoms, complaints & signs

The symptoms and discomforts of sail ears are usually relatively clear and visible. The affected suffer from protruding ears and thus often also at a reduced aesthetics. In many cases, the ears lead to mental discomfort or upsets, as well as depression.

However, this disease has no negative impact on the hearing of the affected person, so this is not restricted thereby. In addition to the ears, the patients often suffer from other malformations of the ears or generally the head. However, the ears can also occur as the sole malformation. Especially in adolescence, the esthetic limitations can lead to reduced self-esteem or inferiority complexes.

The complaint itself occurs in most cases since birth, but can also be acquired or show only at a higher age. Since the ears do not adversely affect the hearing of the affected person, they also need not be treated. However, surgery is advisable if the ears cause severe depression or other mental limitations. Especially bullying and teasing occur during childhood and can significantly reduce the quality of life of those affected.

Diagnosis & History

In the case of sail ears, the attending physician can often already make a diagnosis based on mere optics. In order to support the diagnosis, measurements can be carried out which can confirm the presence of a malformation.

Either the angle between the auricle and the head is measured (this should be between 20 and 30 °) or, alternatively, the distance between the auricle and the head. If this measurement results in a distance of more than 2 cm, according to the medical definition, ears are present. Basically, protruding ears are harmless and have an impact on the hearing or physical health of the person affected.

However, since teasing can occur, especially in childhood, psychological problems such as inferiority complexes or even depression can arise. For this reason, surgical treatment is often considered.


With protruding ears, there are no medical complications. People who have protruding ears do not have to expect further discomfort or problems because the ears are harmless to the human body. The ears do not impair or improve the hearing.

Most problems are usually due to the non-aesthetic appearance. In many cases, the patient is embarrassed by the protruding ears, resulting in decreased self-esteem. This can also cause depression and other mental health problems that need to be treated by a psychologist. Especially in children and adolescents it comes to teasing and bullying, which can lead to great problems.

The protruding ears can be treated by surgery. This procedure is taken over by the health insurance if the child is under 14 years old. There are no complications during surgery. It is only associated with the usual risk of anesthesia or inflammation of the scar.

However, this risk is very low for a local anesthetic. It can not be predicted whether the ears will stand up again in adulthood or not. In most cases, however, the operation is successful and the ears no longer change shape during life.

When should you go to the doctor?

Protruding ears are of course not a disease, but only a malposition of the ears. No medical treatment is necessary, because with protruding ears no problems or complications are to be expected in the distant future. It is different, however, if the affected person mentally suffers from the protruding ears. In such a case, there are two possibilities: The affected person with the protruding ears can go into psychological treatment or the ears can be created by surgery.

If, despite psychological stress, a visit to a doctor is not made, the person in question takes a risk. The stress increases over time, so it may even lead to depression. Thus, with protruding ears does not have to go to a doctor. Only when the protruding ears put a mental burden on the person should a doctor be consulted. Only then can further complications associated with protruding ears be recognized early and treated accordingly.

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Treatment & Therapy

Protruding ears can only be treated surgically; One speaks of the so-called "ears create" (in the jargon called otopexy). A not often tried early childhood "gluing" or "tying" of the ears does not show the desired success.

On the other hand, surgical procedures generally show good results. Usually, surgery is performed on children to protect them from teasing as early as possible. There are various surgical techniques that usually take place from the auricle back. The procedures are performed under general anesthesia (in adults, local anesthesia may also be possible).

In the thread method, the auricle is fixed with permanent plastic threads. Usually, however, the ear cartilage is exposed and then brought into a position corresponding to the optical standard. After the surgical procedure, the affected person must wear a firm head bandage over a period of about two weeks. If the operation is performed on children under the age of 14, the health insurances will cover the costs of the procedure in most cases.

Under certain circumstances, ears may re-emerge during adulthood, necessitating a re-intervention. However, if the operation is performed correctly and no complications occur, applying the ears is successful in most cases.

Outlook & Forecast

Protruding ears are not a disease, but only a small malposition of the ears. Even if this malposition remains without any treatment, no problems or complications are to be expected.

However, if an ear attachment has occurred, then a close look and prognosis is difficult. In the later healing process it can come to complications, which must be examined by a suitable physician. Since these are partly open wounds, they should always be kept clean and clean. Otherwise there is a risk of inflammation.

An inflammation makes the prospect of a quick and rapid healing much more difficult. Therefore, if you recognize the first signs of inflammation, you should consult a doctor very quickly. He can proceed with appropriate medication for inflammation. It is quickly inhibited and prevents possible blood poisoning.

Thus, protruding ears need not be treated by a doctor. However, affected persons may suffer from mental stress requiring medical treatment. Alternatively, the ears can be surgically applied. The prognoses for a successful treatment are good. However, under certain circumstances an inflammation can occur which must be adequately treated.


Since protruding ears are genetically conditioned and inherited, prevention is not possible. It can only be a subsequent surgical treatment. Sail ears are for many sufferers an optical problem; But they do not endanger your health or your hearing. Whether a treatment should take place, therefore, lies entirely at the discretion of the person concerned or their parents. Many people stand up to their protruding ears and experience no impairment in their daily lives.


After surgery there is no need for follow-up. A recurrence of the protruding ears is excluded. New complaints are also not expected. Since therapy usually takes place for aesthetic reasons, the primary cause of the illness, the psychological stress, is completely eliminated after the removal of the sails.

Thus, the aftercare falls in the weeks after a surgical procedure. Doctors check that the cure is successful. In the first week is usually a head bandage to wear. In the following month a headband protects the ears. If necessary, the threads are to be pulled, which is often the most important appointment with a doctor. In order to prevent a tearing of the wounds, sport should initially be avoided. The instruction of a doctor explicitly points to this.

With less pronounced ears, sufferers sometimes consciously abstain from surgery. Because protruding ears, unlike some animals, do not cause any problems with perception, such a decision can make sense. Doctors can prescribe therapy and strengthen the self-confidence of their patients. Children and adults experience the necessary support that they usually find too little in their social environment.

You can do that yourself

Protruding ears are usually a purely cosmetic problem. The most effective remedy is a surgical procedure in which the ears are applied to the scalp during surgery. Alternatively or concomitantly sailing ears can be treated by some tricks and home remedies or at least laminated.

Thus, protruding ears can be well covered by long hair or a headband. If the ears are already noticed in infancy, the winding method promises improvement. It is as regularly as possible - but without affecting the baby - a kind of gauze bandage wrapped around the baby's head. In the short term, the ears can be glued using patches or tape. However, in the long term, protruding ears can only be repaired by surgical procedures or the so-called suture method, which tightens the ears under local anesthesia.

It is therefore advisable to accept the physical characteristics and to strengthen the self-confidence of children with ears. If the protruding ears have already led to mental problems, talk to a therapist. Anyone who suffers from protruding ears and exclusion, should think about changing the environment.

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