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Appl Ergon. 2008 Jan;39(1):115-21. Epub 2007 Mar 19.

Incorporating anthropometry into design of ear-related products.

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Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, St John's University, Tamsui, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC.


To achieve mass customization and collaborative product design, human factors and ergonomics should play a key development role. The purpose of this study was to provide product designers with the anthropometic dimensions of outer ears for different demographic data, including gender and age. The second purpose was to compare the dimensions of various ear-related products (i.e., earphone, bluetooth earphone and ear-cup earphone) with the anthropometic database and recommend appropriate solutions for design. Two hundred subjects aged 20-59 was selected for this study and divided into four age stratifications. Further, three different dimensions of the outer ear (i.e., the earhole length, the ear connection length and the length of the pinna) were measured by superimposed grid photographic technique. The analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to investigate the effects of gender, and age on ear dimensions. The results showed that all ear dimensions had significant gender effects. A comparison between the anthropometric dimensions and those of current products revealed that most current ear-related products need to be redesigned using anthropometric data. The shapes of earhole and pinna are not circular. Consequently, ear products need to be elongated so that users may feel more comfortably and not have the product slip off easily.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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