What is Ear Gauging

Ear gauging is nothing but another name for stretching of the ear. This is done primarily for wearing of the ornaments and done primarily on the ear lobe but It can be on any part of the ear. Stretching and piercing of body has been an ancient ritual followed by various cultures and tribes across the world since time immemorial. In earlier times wood, bones, stone, bamboo and glass have been used by tribes across the globe. Historically over 3000 year mummies too have been found with ear gauges. There is also a religious touch to the ear gauging as Gautam Budh had large ear lobes from wearing heavy jewellery which the Buddhists try to emulate as a show of devotion.

This process is gradual and should be handled carefully and slowly. The gauging size or the hold size can go from .8 mm to 10mm and in some cases even larger. The three primary forms of gauges are Tapers, plugs and hooks. Besides these there are tunnels and talons available in the market.

How is it done? Ideally one should visit and professional to get it done and in case one intends to do it on his/her own then its best to start with the standard hole size using a metal piece. Once the piercing has been done its best not to touch the piece to reduce the risk of infection. Stretching tapers are used to gradually increase the size of the hole. Ideally it takes months to take it to the maximum width. The ear returns to normal from zero size but any bigger sizes it almost always leaves permanent opening which can only be taken care of using surgery.

The common methods of increase the size of the gauging are tapering, dead stretching, tape stretching, weights, scalpelling, dermal punch and silicon slugs. Tapering is the most common method using a tapered piece of metal lubricated and pushed through the fistula. Dead stretching involved pushing a large piece of jewellery in the hole. In tape stretching a Teflon tape is put over the existing piece of jewellery to make it thicker and then it is reinserted and gradually the layers are increased over the course of time. Weights involve using weights to increase the size of the hole though it is an ancient approach and not used in the present times. Scalpelling technique uses cutting around the existing hole. In dermal punch a razor is used to make a cut. Silicon slugs are folded and then plugged into the earlobe for later expansion.

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