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john65pennington's avatar

What causes men's ears and nose to grow "larger" as they grow older?

Asked by john65pennington (29235points) December 27th, 2011

In all fairness to the women, I will ask a similar question, concerning men’s ears and nose. Question: as men grow older, what causes their ears and nose to become larger?

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12 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

They don’t.
Your nose is finished growing by the end of puberty. Much like the sagging bottoms of the other thread, a loss of elasticity in the skin may cause the tip of the nose to appear longer or lower on the face… or a loss of fat and elasticity in the face may give the illusion that the nose is bigger, but your nose and ears do not keep growing.

Lightlyseared's avatar

The general consensus seems to be that both mens and womens ears tend to keep growing through out their lives (Heathcote et al BMJ 1995) but it seems to be they get longer not wider so it may just be gravity.

No idea about the nose thing though.

jazmina88's avatar

I wish men got larger when they get old :p

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Lightlyseared gravity would make sense for the ears. I know that when a person has had their ears pierced, the effects of gravity on the earlobes is very noticeable. It would make sense that it pulls the ears downward over the years.

syz's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf Actually, cartilage continues to grow throughout life (albeit slowly). Cartilaginous appendages like ears and noses therefore not only appear larger on older individuals, they actually are (relative to when the person was younger).

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@syz I am under the impression that is a myth.
You may be right, though, the internet seems to be torn over it.

I just found this:
“Around age 18, ears and noses stop growing and there is no new cellular development, says Joseph O’Brien, M.D., orthopedic surgeon at George Washington University Hospital in Washington.

That doesn’t mean the size of people’s ears and noses doesn’t continue to increase as they age, O’Brien says. These facial features increase in length because the cartilage and skin lose elasticity, causing them to appear droopy. And gravity pulls those loose fibers downward, adding to the saggy appearance, says Robert Kotler, M.D., a cosmetic surgeon in Beverly Hills, Calif.”

…which might explain why the internet can’t seem to agree on whether or not they actually do grow/get larger.

syz's avatar

Yep, there’s a lot of back and forth, and a lack of published scientific sources, but the general medical consensus seems to be the it is true.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@syz yep. Now I really want to know!
At least everyone seems to agree that they get larger, I suppose it doesn’t matter how that happens.

Sunny2's avatar

And, they say whiskers keep growing after you die. This is an illusion cause by skin losing elasticity and seeming to shrink. The whiskers seem to grow. Skin around the skull may shrink and hair loss may change the relative ‘size’ of ears and noses.

the_overthinker's avatar

I was told in high school by my teacher that noses continue to grow as we age..

rooeytoo's avatar

I am on the side of continual growth, I have read it many times in many places. But for everyone, not just men. (And I have noticed that men who have backsides are just as prone to sagging as females. I better go check out that question)

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