Auricular hypertrichosis

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Auricular hypertrichosis

Auricular hypertrichosis (hypertrichosis lanuginosa acquisita, hypertrichosis pinnae auris) is a genetic condition expressed as long and strong hairs growing from the helix of the pinna.[1][page needed]


Ear hair generally refers to the terminal hair arising from follicles inside the external auditory meatus in humans.[2] In its broader sense, ear hair may also include the fine vellus hair covering much of the ear, particularly at the prominent parts of the anterior ear, or even the abnormal hair growth as seen in hypertrichosis and hirsutism. Medical research on the function of ear hair is currently very scarce.

Hair growth within the ear canal is often observed to increase in older men,[3] together with increased growth of nose hair.[4] Excessive hair growth within or on the ear is known medically as auricular hypertrichosis.[5] Some men, particularly in the male population of India, have coarse hair growth along the lower portion of the helix, a condition referred to as "having hairy pinnae" (hypertrichosis lanuginosa acquisita).[6]


There is controversy over whether auricular hypertrichosis is a Y-linked or autosomal trait, or perhaps both (in different families). It was proposed also that this phenotype results from the interaction of two loci, one on the homologous part of the X and Y and one on the nonhomologous sequence of the Y.[7]

Lee et al. (2004), by Y-chromosomal DNA binary-marker haplotyping, suggested that a cohort of southern Indian hairy-eared males carried Y chromosomes from many haplogroups of the Y-phylogeny.[8] According to a hypothesis of Y linkage, it would require multiple independent mutations within a single population. No significant difference between the Y-haplogroup frequencies of hairy-eared males and those of a geographically matched control sample of unaffected males was established. They concluded that the auricular hypertrichosis is not Y-linked in southern India, but it is unlikely to be same in any population.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mader, Sylvia S. (2000). Human biology. New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 978-0-07-290584-7. OCLC 41049448.
  2. ^ W. Steven Pray. "Swimmer's Ear: An Ear Canal Infection". U.S. Pharmacist. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  3. ^ Leyner, Mark; M.D., Billy Goldberg (2005-07-26). Why Do Men Have Nipples?: Hundreds of Questions You'd Only Ask a Doctor After Your Third Martini. Crown Publishing Group. pp. 206–. ISBN 9780307337047. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  4. ^ Nagourney, Eric (December 13, 2012). "Why Is Hair Growing Out of There?". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  5. ^ Scott Jackson; Lee T. Nesbitt (25 April 2012). Differential Diagnosis for the Dermatologist. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 125. ISBN 978-3-642-28006-1. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  6. ^ Hawke Library. "Otoscopy: The Pinna". Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  7. ^ Dronamraju, K. R. Y-linkage in man. Nature 201: 424-425, 1964. [PubMed: 14110028, related citations].
  8. ^ Lee A. C., Kamalam A., Adams S. M., Jobling M. A. (2004): Molecular evidence for absence of Y-linkage of the hairy ears trait. Europ. J. Hum. Genet. 12: 1077-1079. [PubMed: 15367914, related citations] [Full Text: Nature Publishing Group]
  9. ^ Rao D. C. (1972): Hypertrichosis of the ear rims: two remarks on the two-gene hypothesis. Acta Genet. Med. Gemellol. 21: 216-220,[PubMed: 4669458, related citations].