Which physical findings of the ear are characteristic of Down syndrome?

Updated: Apr 30, 2018
  • Author: Gratias Tom Mundakel, MBBS, DCH; Chief Editor: Maria Descartes, MD  more...
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Answer

The ears are small with an overfolded helix (see the images below). Chronic otitis media and hearing loss are common. About 66-89% of children have hearing loss of greater than 15-20 dB in at least 1 ear, as assessed by means of the auditory brainstem response (ABR).

Ear of infant with Down syndrome. Note characteris Ear of infant with Down syndrome. Note characteristic small ear with overfolded helix.
Small auricle and anomalies of folds in patient wi Small auricle and anomalies of folds in patient with Down syndrome. Image courtesy of L. Dourmishev, MD, PhD, DSc.

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