Contrary to popular belief, our ears don’t do the hearing. In fact, our aural canal and ears only direct the sound vibrations to our eardrums, where it is heard and then processed by the brain. The same goes for all animals on Earth, though many species have wildly varying ear sizes and shapes. Here’s a list of some unique ears found on earth, ranked from smallest to largest.
Moles have the smallest ears of any animal. They’re indistinguishable, hidden under fur. Because they spend most of their time burrowing underground, they cannot have skin flaps or protruding ears. Dirt would get caught in these openings, blocking their aural pathways and causing infections.
To help them retain heat in their extremely cold environment, polar bears have very small ears that are covered in fur. The thick fur and small size limit the amount of skin that’s exposed to the elements, which reduces heat loss. Arctic foxes have a similar makeup, with their fuzzy ears being very small in comparison to other animals.
Like humans, gorillas have uniquely shaped ears that direct sound in a specific way. Many primates share a similar shape to their ears, gorillas are the closest to humans in this way. However, their ears are much smaller in comparison to their bodies and are further flattened against their head. Chimps are part of the primate family, but their ears are much larger and stick out like disks from their head.
Known for having large ears, elephants use these leathery appendages to flap away flies. They also use their ears to keep cool and express excitement, flapping them wildly when they’re overcome with joy.
Opposite to arctic foxes, who developed smaller ears to combat the temperature of their environment, fennec foxes’ ears got bigger. Because they live in the desert, the tiny mammals have to find ways to give off heat and avoid becoming too overheated. Their ears are huge and contain many blood vessels, which give off heat as their blood pumps through them.
Bred to have ginormous ears, basset hounds are notoriously droopy. In fact, some basset hounds have such large ears that they drag on the ground and get covered in dirt. Owners have to take special care to keep their ears clean to avoid infections or injury.
Last but definitely not least is the Gulabi goat, a special breed found in Pakistan. Their ears can reach baffling lengths, and sometimes curl as they drape over their necks. They’re bred for their unique appearance and are highly valued as show goats.
As mentioned above, ears can control temperature, allow animals to express emotion, and offer protection against bugs. However, human ears are designed for hearing, nothing more. Because of that, hearing loss can seriously impact how we use our ears. If you think you might be having trouble hearing, a simple hearing test can help you determine the best course of action. From there, you can begin considering hearing aids to solve this problem.
If you’re too busy to get a full audiogram, or just don’t want to commit to a visit until you know you might be hard of hearing, online tests can help. Signia’s online hearing test can give you an idea of your hearing range, and help you decide whether or not to get a full examination.Contrary to popular belief, our ears don’t do the hearing. In fact, our aural canal and ears only direct the sound vibrations to our eardrums, where it is heard and then processed by the brain. The same goes for all animals on Earth, though many species have wildly varying ear sizes and shapes. Here’s a list of some unique ears found on earth, ranked from smallest to largest.