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Types, Symptoms and Signs of Ear Deformities

Last Updated on Feb 12, 2019
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What are the Different Types of Ear Deformities?

Ear malformations are considered to be associated with defects in artery development in the embryological development of ears. Ear malformations may be classified as follows:

  • Microtia: The ear is small because it does not form properly. Nearly 90 percent of those with microtia experience hearing loss.
  • Anotia: Complete absence of the external ear.
  • Macrotia: This is the opposite of microtia, where the ear is very large but does not have any other defects.
  • Melotia: The ear is found at the position of the cheek.
  • Cryptotia: The ear cartilage is buried partially under the skin.
  • Polyotia: Here, the external ear abnormalities are duplicated.

Ear deformities are ears with abnormal shapes and absence of order in the ear parts. There are no associated functional defects and may be classified as follows:

  • Lop ear: The external ear is placed at an angle away from the head.
  • Low set ear: The ears are centrally located in close proximity.
  • Dysplastic ear: This occurs due to chromosomal errors, which cause abnormally shaped external ears.
  • Cup shape: Folded ears.
  • Elfin ears or Stahlís ear: Ears with edges of pointed shape.
  • Earlobe deformities: Varied shapes of earlobes, such as earlobes with skin tags, duplicate earlobes, or clefts.
  • Cauliflower ear: Excess cartilage is produced over the normal cartilage to make the ears bulky and out of shape.

What are the Symptoms and Signs of Ear Deformities?

The deformed structure of the ear is the most obvious sign. However, other associated symptoms and signs may also be observed. These include the following:

  • Hearing loss: Various degrees of hearing loss can occur.
  • Ear infections: These are very common and can occur frequently.
  • Facial deformities: These include small lower jaw and small cheekbones, which can sometimes occur only on one side.
  • Teeth abnormalities: These can present as crooked, overlapping or crowded teeth.
  • Mouth abnormalities: These may include mouth that is large, small, wide or narrow.
Hearing Loss: Chief Symptom and Sign of Ear Deformities


  1. Ear deformities - Childrenís Hospital of Philadephia, USA - (https://www.chop.edu/conditions-diseases/ear-deformities)
  2. Facts about Anotia/Microtia - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA - (https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/anotia-microtia.html)
  3. Bartel-Friedrich S, Wulke C. Classification and diagnosis of ear malformations. GMS Curr Top Otorhinolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2008; 6: Doc05.
  4. Cox TC, Camci ED, Vora S, Luquetti DV, Turner EE. The genetics of auricular development and malformation: New findings in model systems driving future directions for microtia research. Eur J Med Genet. 2014; 57(8): 394-401.
  5. Franchella A, Pellegrinelli S, Carinci F, Zollino I, Carnevali G, Candotto V, et al. Congenital malformations of the ear. Eur J Inflamm. 2012; 10 (1): 35-8.
  6. Woo JE, Park Y-H, Park EJ, Park KY, Kim SH, Yim S-Y. Effectiveness of ear splint therapy for ear deformities. Ann Rehabil Med. 2017; 41(1):138-47.
  7. Woo T, Kim YS, Roh TS, Lew DH, Yun IS. Correction of congenital auricular deformities using the ear-molding technique. Arch Plast Surg. 2016; 43(6): 512-7.
  8. Mohammadi AA, Imani MT, Kardeh S, Karami MM, Kherad M. Non-surgical management of congenital auricular deformities. World J Plast Surg. 2016; 5(2): 139-47.
  9. Junior AT, Haetinger RG, de Carvalho e Silva FL, de Castro Gudmon M. Middle and inner ear malformations in two cases of velocardiofacial syndrome. Int Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2009; 13(1): 83-6.
  10. Esteves SDS, da Silva AP, Coutinho MB, Abrunhosa JM, e Sousa CA. Congenital defects of the middle ear - uncommon cause of pediatric hearing loss. Braz J Otorhinolaryngol. 2014; 80(3): 251-6.
  11. Storck K, Staudenmaier R, Buchberger M, Strenger T, Kreutzer K, von Bomhard A, et al. Total reconstruction of the auricle: Our experiences on indications and recent techniques. BioMed Research International, vol. 2014, Article ID 373286, 15 pages, 2014.

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