Will an Otoplasty Improve a person's Hearing?

Will make the ears look better, but does this also help improve hearing?

Doctor Answers 37

What did you say? Otoplasty to improve hearing?

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No, otoplasty does not help improve hearing.

In some severe cases, the cartilage of the external ear may impinge upon the ear canal, but I have never seen or heard of a complete blockage that otoplasty corrected.

Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Will an Otoplasty Improve my Hearing?

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This is a good question. Otoplasty is a purely aesthetic procedure used mostly to fix protruding pinna and ear lobes, which are both part of the external ear. Hearing, however, is mostly concerned with the inner ear: ear drum, malleus, cochlea, auditory nerve, etc, and is a highly specialized system that works together to allow you to hear things. It is very unlikely that any part of otoplasty, which focuses mostly on the cartilage of the outer ear, would improve your hearing in any way. If you are having an issue with your hearing, go see an ear doctor. He will be better suited at assessing the “mechanics” of the inner ear to see what could be wrong. Otherwise, a good plastic surgeon can help you if you are more concerned with just the aesthetic aspects of the outer ear.

Otoplasties don't improve hearing

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An otoplasty is a cosmetic procedure to improve the appearance of your ears. Typically it is done for ears that protrude too far from the head. This would have no bearing on hearing.

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An otoplasty won't improve hearing. But let's make sure...

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An otoplasty won't improve hearing. But let's make sure we're talking about the right operation:

  • Otoplasty is an operation to improve the appearance of prominent ears.
  • Auricular reconstruction is an operation for correcting microtia, a condition where the ear is congenitally absent or underdeveloped. This operation is a multi-stage procedure and often also improves hearing (mainly by surgery directed to the ear canal and middle ear, but also a little bit from creation of a pinna--the part of the ear that we see).

David C. Pearson, MD
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon

A true otoplasty will not effect your hearing. Otoplasty...

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A true otoplasty will not effect your hearing. Otoplasty refers to the cosmetic changing of the external ear that you can see. If you should have a blockage of the ear canal then a surgery can be performed to open the ear canal which could improve your hearing - but this operation is not an otoplasty.

D.J. Verret, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Otoplasty Does Not Change Ability to Hear

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Problems with hearing can occur for a variety of reasons.  Changes in the shape of the external ear would not be expected to impact any of these problems.  For this reason, the procedure is viewed as cosmetic and not functional in nature.  It would therefore not change someone‚Äôs ability to hear.

Otoplasty and Hearing

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No, otoplasty is an aesthetic procedure intended to correct protruding ears.  It is not intended to correct hearing.


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Otoplasties aim is to improve ear aesthetics and shape.

It will never improve patients hearing,

Enrique Etxeberria, MD
Spain Plastic Surgeon

Otoplasty and hearing

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An otoplasty is a cosmetic procedure to improve the appearance of your ears.  It has no effect on your hearing.  

Hearing IS affected by otoplasty! Bur hearing deficits are not improved.

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Interestingly, most of the answere here by my colleagues are generally correct in that otoplasty (which corrects the appearance of the external sound-catching cartilage and skin structure on our skulls) does not change the actual hearing apparatus (tympanic membrane, internal ear bones, and semicircular canals inside our skulls) that allows us to turn vibrations in the air into nerve signals that our brains percieve as sound.

BUT, let's do a quick experiment. Cup your hands around your ears. The sound is different, isn't it? Remove your hands. The sound is back to "normal," correct? Though the difference may indeed be small, changing the external ear configuration via otoplasty does indeed change how sounds are perceived. Otoplasty will not improve or correct hearing deficits, only how sounds are perceived once they get to the internal ear.

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.