ZocdocAnswersDo ear deformity's change the way we hear?

Question

Do ear deformity's change the way we hear?

I am a 25 year old woman with very small ears. Does this affect how well I can hear?

Answer

The simple answer is yes it can potentially affect your hearing. However the real answer is whether the change would be significant enough to matter. The way that hearing normally works is that sound waves are funneled into your ear canal and transmitted to your tympanic membrane (ear drum). There are three bones of hearing (malleus, incus, stapes) that are connected to the ear drum that transmit the mechanical signal to your cochlea which converts the mechanical signal into an electrical signal and sends the message on to your brain. Your brain then interprets the electrical signal as sound. Without being able to examine you, and from your brief history, it sounds like (and I am assuming) it is only the structure of your ear itself (Pinna) that is small. Meaning that there are no other known abnormalities within this system. The pinna is the term for the cartilaginous ear with its skin envelope covering it. With regards to hearing, it is basically a funnel that picks up sound and directs it down the external auditory canal. Assuming that everything else is normal with you ear (normal canal, ear drum, etc...) then the "funnel" is the only portion that is being affected by your small ears. This should have a negligible affect on your hearing. However if the appearance bothers you, or if you want another opinion, I would recommend that you see an ENT. Hope this helps.

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