View Full Version : How would losing both ears affect hearing?

12-20-2010, 03:00 AM
I know, odd question. But basically part of my WIP concerns the English supposed alchemist / occultist Edward Kelley, who reportedly lost both ears as a punishment, something to do with land fraud I think but I don't remember off hand.

Anyway, I'm just trying to check up on what would be the actual effects on someone to lose basically the outer part of the ear on both sides. How would that affect your actual hearing?

Any help greatly appreciated.

12-20-2010, 03:46 AM
It helps me greatly (being hearing-impaired) to cup a hand over my good ear in a noisey environment. Otherwise, I can't tell where sounds are coming from. Otherwise, the utterance of someone on my left might easily blend with that of someone on my right.

12-20-2010, 05:00 AM
You also probably want to consider scar tissue. the cartilage that the ears are made of does weird things when it's damaged. Do a google image search for "cauliflower ear" to get ideas of just how scar tissue might form, and how it might block the ear canal.

12-20-2010, 06:54 PM
The pinna, or the outer part of the ear, helps to focus sound waves into the inner ear for interpretation. Without it, many sound waves would be poorly focused or missed. Hearing loss would most likely be fairly significant.

I imagine the sudden onset of a significant hearing impairment would be quite traumatic psychologically as well. My own experience with deafness was most likely much easier.

Drachen Jager
12-20-2010, 09:53 PM
Yep, I agree with the above, around 50% hearing loss from the front, less for sounds coming from the sides so he'd probably develop a habit of tilting his head when listening to someone, to get an ear-hole in their direction. The ear is mostly to focus sounds from the front. The other thing he'd lose would be most of his ability to localize a sound.

12-20-2010, 11:39 PM
I believe it was in the movie Time Bandits, where the ogre had a curved horn stuck in his ear canal. Your alchemist would probably have devised something like that to improve his hearing.

12-21-2010, 12:40 AM
The effects to the hearing could be nullified by such things as cupping a hand to the old ear, asking nicely of the speaker to repeat themself!

The work of turning vibrations into meaning is all in the inner ear. The fleshy bit outside focusses the noise.

But in those days, infection would be a big problem. Chop somebody's ear off and they'd be lucky to get a tetanus shot in the arse for starters.

Which could lead to some drama!

Is he deaf? Or does pus merely cover his ears?

(That's a Shakesperean misappropriation by the way. From King Lear no less!)

So, no, chopping off the floppy bits at the side of the cranium will not induce deafness.!!!

12-21-2010, 02:01 AM
As a side note, hearing specialist do not recommend a person use only one hearing aid because it throws off their equilibrium. I see people using only one all the time, but I have been told it is not recommended.

I might assume that a person who has lost the outer ear, might have a problem with their equilibrium though I am not sure...

12-21-2010, 02:23 AM
Napoleon Hill (the author of Think and Grow Rich) had a son who was born without ears, and he wrote about the experience of raising a deaf child under these circumstances.