It’s normal to have hair on your ears. There’s hair outside and inside your ears.
Anatomy of External Ear Canal and External Ear (Pinna)
Anatomy and physiology
The external auditory canal (ear canal) has lateral cartilaginous and medial bony portions, with an overall length of 2–3.5 cm and a diameter of 5–9 mm. The skin of the bony ear canal is firmly bound to the periosteum, while the skin of the cartilaginous ear canal lies on a layer of connective tissue and contains hair follicles, sebaceous glands, and apocrine ceruminous glands, whose exudates, combined with desquamated epithelial cells, form cerumen. The cartilaginous ear canal has a roof of connective tissue; its floor contains the connective-tissue clefts of Santorini. The sensory innervation of the ear canal is from the auriculotemporal nerve, the auricular branch of the vagus nerve, the greater auricular nerve, and the posterior auricular nerve. The ear canal is normally colonized by bacteria, above all Staphylococcus and Corynebacterium species and streptococci. Its pH is normally in the range of 5–5.7; the acid environment and the hydrophobic properties of the cerumen inhibit bacterial growth.
Why Do Men Ears Have Hair? and what Causes Extra Ear Hair?
Y-linked’ or ‘holandric’ traits are those which are linked to Y chromosome or father of the person. At least 14 such traits generated interest because of their exclusive father-to-son transmission, including hypertrichosis pinnae auris (HPA) – having abnormally long hair on the outer ear (pinna). Despite problems of reporter bias and illegitimacy in the numerous pedigrees studied, the pattern of inheritance suggested that HPA was a Y-linked trait until it was shown that no single haplogroup predominated in the hypertrichosis pinnae auris (HPA) (thus making it unlikely to be Y linked and more likely to be an autosomal trait with phenotypic expression limited to males (Ref. 1 & 2).
Almost your entire body is covered in some form of hair. The only parts without it are the palms of your hands, your lips, and the soles of your feet. It’s rare to have very long hair on your outer ear though it is most common in men who live in India.
One theory also suggests that one reason men notice more ear hair later in life is because the follicle becomes more sensitive to their testosterone levels and grows bigger. This means the hair itself will become thicker. This theory would also explain why women don’t experience ear hair growth the same way many men do.
Types of Hairs on and in Ears?
There are Two types of ear hair: vellus hair and Terminal hair. Almost everybody has a thin coating of tiny hair covering much of their bodies, including the outer ear and ear lobes. This peach fuzz-like layer is called vellus hair. This type of hair first develops in childhood and helps the body regulate temperature.
Although vellus hair can grow long in older age, it lacks pigment and is hard to see. This type of ear hair is incredibly common, difficult to notice, and probably does not bother much.
Terminal hairs are thicker and darker than vellus hairs. They are supposed to provide protection to the ear from foreign body or by friction to the external ear. Terminal hairs are present in external ear canal, and if long then tend to stick out of the ear in tufts and look ugly. The
Are there any dangers with too much ear hair?
Too much ear hair can crowd and clog the ear canal and make the ear more susceptible to mild conditions like swimmer’s ear by narrowing the ear canal so water gets trapped inside. Prolonged exposure to water and frequent attempt to clean the ear canal predispose swimmers to develop acute otitis externa (swimmer’s ear). Gram-negative bacteria, most commonly pseudomonas, are the major pathogens4. The presence of an ear lobe crease and ear hairs is significantly related to coronary heart disease5.
The best way to remove the ear hair permanently is by hair electrolysis
Video showing Electrolysis of the Hairy Ear by Galvanic method
How Do You Get Rid of It?
Hairy ears won’t cause any serious health problems, but if you don’t like the way it looks or feels, you can remove it. You have several options:
How to make ears hair free or completely free of hair?
Shave: For the cost of a razor and some shaving cream, you can shave it off. The downsides: You might cut yourself, and the results won’t last long. Your hair will grow back in 1–3 days. And your skin might get irritated from the razor, or the strands might not grow back correctly causing ingrowth. This causes sore bumps called ingrown hairs. To trim inside your ear, use an electric razor made for the job, not a straight razor.
Pluck: Use tweezers to grab the base of a strand of hair and pull it out. Since it will come out by the root, it can take 1–8 weeks for it to grow back. (temporary and painful).
Wax: Use either cold or hot wax to remove hair and keep it off for 2–8 weeks. After you spread the wax on, it hardens. Use a paper strip to pull the wax off quickly, which also pulls out the hair. (temporary and painful)
Hair removal cream: Also called depilatories. Use them only on the outer part of your ear. Check the ingredients to make sure you aren’t allergic to any of them before you try it. (Temporary).
Laser hair removal: it will target the bulb of your hair and heat to destroy it. It’s expensive and can take 6–8 sessions, but it cause hair reduction of thick black hairs in white skin. But there is always the risk of rebound hair growth and damage to the ear drum from runaway laser beam and also the results cannot be predicted as in some person's hairs are not affected at all. There is also a risk of laser burns to the sensitive skin of the ears. Lasers are not effective on white hairs.
Electrolysis of Ear Hairs: It is the only FDA approved permanent hair removal technique which can remove any type of hairs from the ear pinna. Requires lot patience and skill to do electrolysis of the ear rims. The fine hairs require very fine needle usually F1 or F2 size to do it. Also, since the skin of the ears is sensitive it is recommended that all the hairs are not removed in single session but multiple sessions are done to minimize the risk of skin damage. (permanent).
- Lee AC, Kamalam A, Adams SM, Jobling MA. Molecular evidence for absence of Y-linkage of the Hairy Ears trait. Eur J Hum Genet. 2004;12(12):1077‐1079. doi:10.1038/sj.ejhg.5201271
- Maan AA, Eales J, Akbarov A, Rowland J, Xu X, Jobling MA, Charchar FJ, Tomaszewski M. The Y chromosome: a blueprint for men's health? Eur J Hum Genet. 2017 Nov;25(11):1181-1188. doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2017.128. Epub 2017 Aug 30. PMID: 28853720; PMCID: PMC5643963.
- Lee DH, Yoo S, Shin E, Cho Y. Nonshaved Ear Surgery: Effect of Hair on Surgical Site Infection of the Middle Ear/Mastoid Surgery and Patients' Preference for the Hair Removal. J Audiol Otol. 2018 Jul;22(3):160-166. doi: 10.7874/jao.2018.00101. Epub 2018 Jun 14. PMID: 29890817; PMCID: PMC6103491.
- Wiegand S, Berner R, Schneider A, Lundershausen E, Dietz A. Otitis Externa. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2019 Mar 29;116(13):224-234. doi: 10.3238/arztebl.2019.0224. PMID: 31064650; PMCID: PMC6522672.
- Suen, L., Yeh, C. H., Yeung, S., Kwan, J., Wong, H. F., Chan, D., Cheung, A., & Yeung, V. (2017). Association between Auricular Signals and the Risk Factors of Metabolic Syndrome. Medicines (Basel, Switzerland), 4(3), 45. https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines4030045