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Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 1997 Sep-Oct;25(2):187-91.

Ear size as a predictor of chronological age.

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Geriatrics and Extended Care, VA Medical Center/Texas Tech University, 6010 Amarillo Blvd West, Amarillo, TX 79106, USA.


It is generally observed that older people have bigger ears and noses. Cartilage is known to alter in structure with age. We conducted a cross sectional study to verify the trend between age and the size of two cartilaginous structures, ear and nose. A total of 100 young individuals were compared to older individuals with respect to their ear and nose sizes. We found that the greatest correlation coefficient of age was with ear circumference, and the linear regression equation being: Ear circumference = 88.1 + (0.51 x subject's age). Except for the ear tragus, which correlated insignificantly with age, anatomical variables of the ear had higher correlation with age than anatomical variables of the nose. This study supports the view that as people age, their ears get larger, particularly the ear circumference, which increases on average 0.51 mm per year. This enlargement is likely associated with aging changes of collagen. The knowledge from this study allows us to calculate the age of an individual based on ear size: Subject's age = 1.96 x (Ear circumference in millimeters - 88.1).


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