Will Otoplasty Help Headphones Stay in the Ears Better?

I am considering an otoplasty. One reason is for my appearance and another is because I would love to use iPods and other mp3 players. If I choose to have an otoplasty, will this help headphones stay in my ears better?

Doctor Answers 11

Probably not

Otoplasty is to modify the external structures of your ears, and doesn’t affect the actual size of your ear canal entrance, where your earphones are put in. For this reason, I don’t think it would help you with this issue.

Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

Otoplasty and appearance and function

Otoplasty surgery is specifically designed to pin back the ears and reduce the amount that the concha or bowl of the ear sticks out. While the procedure is primarily thought of as an aesthetic procedure, it will reduce the size of the conchal bowl if done correctly and may allow you to more comfortable wear headphones and ear buds. I hope this information helps.

Scott Trimas, MD
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Otoplasty will not help headphones stay in the ears better

Otoplasty is a very popular and effective surgery to change the shape and position of the outer ear. The otoplasty will not be performed in the ear canal which is where the headphones rest. For this reason, and otoplasty will not help the headphones stay in place

Pat Pazmino, MD, FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Otoplasty and headphones

Otoplasty will help reduce prominence of the ears but will not affect the way ear buds fit. If this is your main objective it is easier and less expensive to have a custom set of ear bud headphones made for you.

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

Ear "buds" following otoplasty

Most earphone "buds" are placed within the cavum conchae of the ear. In many patients undergoing otoplasty, the cavum is reduced. This potentially could have the opposite effect you desire of making the earphones more difficult to place and retain.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

An Otoplasty (Ear Pinning) will NOT help ear buds stay in the ears better

An Otoplasty (Ear Pinning) operation is designed to bring the ears closer to the side of the head AND to recreate a missing anti helical fold - recreating a ridge where now there is an awkward smooth plane in people with "Dumbo Ears". Frequently, the operation also makes the ear bowl (concha) shallower.

None of these ear shaping technique would affect your ability to retain iPod ear buds in the ear canal and I would recommend you do not have an Otoplasty for this reason.

Dr. P. Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 109 reviews


Otoplasty will obviousy change the shape of your ear, and the degree of prominence of the ears from the head. By head phones, I take it that you mean ear buds. The orifice of the ear canal may in fact be somewhat changed in shape or dimensions, and this may make the buds fit better or worse. Get the otoplasty or don't get the otoplasty, but the ear bud fit is not a reason in the consideration. This is a real operation, so it demands serious consideration.

Scott E. Kasden, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

IPod ear buds and otoplasty (ear reshaping)

Generally speaking, an otoplasty should not meaningfully affect the fit of ear buds. The exception to this is in cases where the antitragus (the little cartilage protrusion above above the earlobe) is very laterally curled. This anatomy occurs in a minority of patients, but otoplasty can make such an antitragus appear more prominent, thus requiring a reduction of the antitragus as well. But the antitragus is one of the edges that can help hold ear buds in place.

So, although uncommon, an otoplasty could make ear buds fit worse. That said, I've reduced the antitragus when needed and I've not had a patient mention a poor fit to their headphones afterwords (yet...).

All the best,


David C. Pearson, MD
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews


The only way I can imagine this is if your protruding ears get in the way of the wiring from the headphones or if you wear the kind of headphones that wrap around the ears. In that case it will help them fit better
However, the otoplasty does not affect the ear canal where earphones are usually placed.

Oleh Slupchynskyj, MD, FACS
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 274 reviews

Earphones unlikely to stay in better

No. An otoplasty does not affect the area of the ear canal itself. Only the outer shape of the auricle is pinned back so that it does not protrude from the side of the head as much. This is done by some reshaping to create a fold in the outer ear, which is stitched back to hold the ear in the normal anatomical position.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 145 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.