Send to

Choose Destination
Plast Reconstr Surg. 2003 Aug;112(2):647-52; discussion 653-4.

A morphometric study of the external ear: age- and sex-related differences.


The human ear is a defining feature of the face. Its subtle structures convey signs of age and sex that are unmistakable yet not easily defined. With analysis of normative cross-sectional data, this study explored anatomic and aesthetic differences in the ear between men and women, as well as changes in ear morphology with age. A total of 123 volunteers were randomly selected for this study. The cohort consisted of 89 women ages 19 to 65 years (median age, 42 years) and 34 men ages 18 to 61 years (median age, 35 years). The average total ear height across the entire cohort for both left and right ears was 6.30 cm, average lobular height was 1.88 cm, and average lobular width was 1.96 cm. As expected based on head size, significant sex-related differences were noted in the distance from the lateral palpebral commissure to both the helical root and insertion of the lobule. Measured distances in both vectors were approximately 4.6 percent longer in men than in women. Similarly, the height of the pinna was significantly larger in men than in women by approximately 6.5 percent. The average height and width of the lobule, however, were nearly identical in men and women. Analysis of age-related data showed a significant difference in the total ear height between the subpopulations; however, this difference was not significant after the lobular height was subtracted from total ear height, suggesting that the lobule was the only ear structure that changed significantly with age. In addition, lobular width decreased significantly with age. This study establishes normative data for ear morphology and clearly demonstrates the changes in earlobe morphology that occur with advancing age.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wolters Kluwer
Loading ...
Support Center