There are a lot of facts to learn about the human ears. And yes, they do get bigger as we age, with the circumference of the ear growing by about half a millimetre each year. Some credit this growth with the need to keep our hearing ability as high as possible as we age (a survival mechanism). There are lots of fascinating facts about ears.
“Ear circumference in mm = 88.1 + (0.51 x subject’s age). Conversely, a person’s age can therefore be calculated by the size of a person’s ear, using the equation: Subject’s age = 1.96 x (Ear circumference in mm – 88.1)”
Taken from Ears, Facts, Function and Disease by Alina Bradford
Our outer ear flaps are physiologically designed to act as a funnel for hearing. Human ears are remarkably similar in design to ape cousins (Bonobo Chimpanzee, Orangutan and Gorilla) but not to forbear primates like lemurs.
None of our cousin apes have pendulous unattached earlobes like humans (something that I actually don’t think has been studied). However, our earshapes (and inner ear workings) have evolved along similar lines to other apes. The evolving ear capability emerged as we developed vocalisation. Other primates do not have our range of ability to ‘talk,’ with some limitations on vocal cords, sinus cavities and larynx development. The human jaw shape, tongue and skull shape allows us humans to have a greater range of vocal sounds. Primates do make noises that we humans also equally recognise, such as a screeching alarm call or hoot of disaproval. A scream, or the sound of nails scraping against a chalkboard will still elicit in us, a flight response, releasing adrenaline and increase heart rate.
The rounded, funnel shape of our ear follows the golden ratio in Fibonacci principles. It is an exquisite mathematical design that amplifies a sound so we can hear sound gathered up from greater distances. We have, like other great apes, no ability to move our ears independently. We do not need that ‘radar’ ability to hunt (dogs, wolves, big cats) nor do we need it to listen to run away from predators (rabbits, antelopes, etc., – animals that do not have neck flexibility). We have evolved a more flexible neck, that allows us to search, up, down and left to right (scanning around us to search for food in tree cover). It implies that we are not designed to be prey or hunters but rather search the forest up and down for food. It is more likely that our ears (along with vocalisation) evolved to be useful in group social living, and used in collaborative efforts to relay information about ripening fruits, nuts, and seeds when the group is scattered, searching an area for food. Our ears would hear a predator approching under hidden cover. We could vocalise this exact information to our social group and make our escape together, much as a troupe of chimpanzees will do.
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
Our ears (and reactions) are sensitive to the sound of popping of seed pods, the fall of raindrops, the crackling of forest fire, the sudden warning calls of animals. Unfortunately, we bombard our ears with constant mechanical noise, loud music and other non-essential noises of industrialisation, making us increasingly deaf to such subtle cues in life.
Earlobes that hang free (pendulous) are due to a dominant gene type.
Attached earlobes (no drop down from attachment point) are the result of a recessive gene type. There are various myths about these and whether attached types are linked to undesirable qualities such as meanness or criminal behaviour. I don’t know about that, but generally we observe unemotional, less empathetic people as linked to the ‘attached earlobe types,’ and emotional, kind, empathetic people are more likely to have large pendulous ‘detached earlobes,’ (Buddha type earlobe). In truth, a lot of us have mixed types and can’t be easily defined one way or the other.
Ears also form part of our symmetry. A small, flat ear (against the head) that has symmetry on both sides, is said to be the most attractive, usually combined with a small nose and a symmetrical face. But this is only indicative of beauty. Some asymmetrical features (including ears) can be found more in people who become leaders.
“.. our research shows that people with subtle asymmetries—for example, imbalances in ear or finger length—are often better “transformational” leaders, able to inspire followers to put self-interest aside for the good of the group. Furthermore, teams they lead outperform teams whose leaders have more-symmetrical bodies.”
But what dictates the patterned shape of our ears? Some sources say that they are as uniquely patterned as your fingerprint.
The pattern is so individual, that recent studies say that biometric ear recognition is more accurate than facial recognition on cctv cameras.
So, maybe, when posting photos of one’s self on social media, it would be wise to leave out anything depicting your ears… It is so easy for unscrupulous Web bots to find them and add them to a databank used by Governments, police, and other identification sources for nefarious purposes.
Your ears can medically reveal things about the state of your health too. Kidney and liver problems, mineral deficiencies and heart disease can show up in the ears. If you have a crease across the Earlobe, it is indicative of the collapse of tiny capillaries in that area, mostly associated with heart disease and plaque build up in the arteries. The colour of your ear explains a lot of what is happening with blood flow. Even brain disorders can show up.
Auricular Reflexology is used to treat corresponding areas of pain in the body just like the foot, and hand, the ear is like a mini version of the rest of your body from a physiological energy aspect.
Is it true that ear shape can also dictate personality?
Hmmm, maybe. Sources of studies are really sketchy on this, but here are some thoughts on shape and meaning.
For a little more information on personality and ear type…
We take our ears for granted, but don’t use them as well as we might. We need to give them a chance to convey information to us about our environment. We do need to be careful about how much useless or excessively loud noise we subject them too. To be deaf, is to lose connection with our world and our ability to decode subtleties of nature itself.