Register for an account


Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.


Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

The Sciences

Ask Discover


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Why do some people have creases in their earlobes?

Vibhuti Singh, chairman of the medicine and cardiology department at the Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, Florida, answers: Human earlobes are normally smooth and free of creases. Many people develop lines in their ears, however, and some studies suggest that a person with an earlobe crease is more likely to develop a heart attack. Since 1973 more than 30 studies of a link have been reported. One of the largest involved 1,000 hospitalized patients. Of the 373 who had earlobe creases, 74 percent developed heart disease, while only 16 percent of those without creases did so. In another study, having an earlobe crease and chest pain predicted a heart attack 90 percent of the time. Similar symptoms without a crease predicted a heart attack only 10 percent of the time. Other reports, however, have been much less conclusive. A study involving 3,155 Chinese, for instance, found that diagonal earlobe creases were a phenomenon of aging and had no predictive significance for heart disease. So while the phenomenon is interesting, it may not be as important a predictor of heart disease as other already established and modifiable risk factors. It is likely that earlobe creases, rather than having a genetic basis, result from age-related chronic circulatory changes that allow vessels in the earlobe to collapse and produce the crease. Until more definitive studies are done, an earlobe crease may merely suggest the need for more aggressive medical monitoring.

    3 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.


    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%


    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In