Israeli plastic surgeons: Mask-wearing does not cause ear protrusions

The surgeons explain that the ear canal stops developing at age 6 and therefore there is no reason for "its structure to change following the pressure of a rubber band or lanyard."

Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci takes off his face mask prior testifying before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on the Trump Administration's Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S. June 23, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci takes off his face mask prior testifying before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on the Trump Administration's Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S. June 23, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS)
After receiving inquiries as to whether continued face mask-wearing will cause a person's ears to reshape over time, a group of Israeli plastic surgeons decided to quell fears, noting that while the mask may irritate the ears and cause discomfort, it will not cause a permanent change to the degree to which a mask-wearer's ears protrude.
To strengthen the assertion, the surgeons explain that the ear canal stops developing at age six and therefore there is no reason for "its structure to change following the pressure of a rubber band or lanyard."
Compulsory mask wearing has been in effect since the peak of the coronavirus spread in Israel, when the Health Ministry issued lockdown restrictions in late March. As of now, traversing public areas without a face covering can carry a fine of up to NIS 500 (approximately $145).
However, as the surgeons note, there is no obligation to wear a mask with straps, and that those worried about ear protrusions can opt for a bandana or a scarf - which can be more comfortable and less irritating.
While many are worried about their ears – or tan lines - some say that wearing masks for long hours may be dangerous due to insufficient oxygenation of the blood it can cause.
In an article published by Technocracy News, Dr. Russell Blaylock wrote that the side effects from prolonged wearing of a face mask "can vary from headaches to increased airway resistance, carbon dioxide accumulation and hypoxia, all the way to serious life-threatening complications."
The side effects vary depending on whether they are cloth or paper surgical masks or N95 respirator masks, because the N95, being a more effective filter, also limits breathing to a greater degree, and is therefore more commonly associated with headaches, he reported.
Blaylock surveyed a sample of 212 healthcare workers who reported the presence of headaches while using the N95 mask to arrive at his conclusions.
The study found that around a third of workers developed headaches when using the masks, the majority had pre-existing headaches that were made worse by the use of the mask, and around three in five required pain medication to relieve the headache.
Although tight straps or pressure from the mask were considered as potential causes, the evidence pointed to the headaches being caused by reduced blood oxygenation, or an increase in carbon dioxide in the blood.
Little is definitively known about how effective the use of masks is in controlling the spread of COVID-19 - connecting decreased coronavirus infection rates to mask use.

Donna Rachel Edmunds contributed to this report.