BBC News

The ageing process: What happens to our ears over time?

A decade ago a group of doctors from London got together to try and solve one of life's mysteries - do our ears grow over time?

They measured the ears of 200 patients over the age of 30 and found that ears increased in size by an average of 0.22mm per year - around 1cm over 50 years.

Other studies from Japan and Italy have agreed with these findings. But why this might the case is still not fully understood.

Some scientists suggest ear growth may be due to the skin losing elasticity over time, making the tissue of the ears sag and stretch.

And earlobes heavy with earrings may gradually droop under their weight.

This video, from a 1998 BBC documentary The Human Body: As Time Goes By, illustrates how ears change over time.