Category: 

What is Ear Gauging?

Article Details
  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Jay Garcia
  • Last Modified Date: 02 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
More bank robberies occur on Friday than any other day of the week.   more...

July 30 ,  1945 :  The USS Indianapolis was torpedoed after dropping off key components of the Hiroshima atomic bomb.  more...

Ear gauging is a practice in which ear piercings are slowly stretched to accommodate larger jewelry. When done properly, the process is very gradual, and it can take years of patient work to reach a desired size, especially in the case of people who want to go large with their ear gauging. The practice appears to have originated in Asia, where evidence suggests that people have been stretching ear piercings for thousands of years, and it has also been widely practiced in African and South American tribes for centuries.

A typical ear piercing is pierced with an 18 or 20 gauge needle. This creates a piercing large enough for the insertion of most standard ear jewelry, but small enough that it doesn't stand out when no jewelry is present. This size also heals relatively quickly and easily, for people who decide to abandon their ear piercings at a later point in life.

When ear gauging is practiced, the hole is expanded so that it can accommodate jewelry of a larger size. The smaller the number, the larger the hole, so someone who goes from a 20 gauge piercing to a 10 gauge piercing will have a larger hole. Sizes go to 00 (3/8 inch or 10 millimeters), at which point they are measured in increments of an inch or in millimeters, depending on where one is.

Ad

The type of jewelry which can be inserted into gauged ears varies, depending on the size to which the holes have been stretched. Some people stretch to large sizes so that they can use plugs, cylinders of material which totally fill the gauged hole. Others use tunnels, hollow jewelry which lines the gauged piercing while leaving an open space in the middle of the piercing. It is also possible to use thick earrings, and in some cultures, people insert multiple loops of wire into their gauged ears, adding wire as the hole increases in size.

There are a number of ways to accomplish ear gauging, also called stretching. The important thing to remember is that working too quickly can damage the piercing, and potentially cause infection and other problems. Some people like to use tapers, lengths of metal, wood, or bone which are slowly inserted into the ear to stretch it and adjusted as the ear becomes accustomed to the larger size. Other people simply insert jewelry of a larger size, giving the ears a month or two to adjust before stepping up a size. It is also possible to gauge ears by cutting them to enlarge the hole, although this should be done under the supervision of a body modification professional.

Up until around size 00, it is potentially possible for ears to heal after gauging. The larger the gauge, the longer it will take for the hole to shrink back down, although massaging the lobes with vitamin E oil can help speed the healing process. After 00, though, ear gauging passes a point of no return, so people should think carefully about how large they want the holes to be in the end, and how they might feel about enlarged ear piercings in 20 years.

Ad

Discuss this Article

anon340519
Post 18

I wonder what they will look like when they are 40 or even 50?

anon245867
Post 16

You should not only think about how you'll feel about it in the future, but also think about how a potential employer may feel about it. I wouldn't hire someone who had one, and many other employers won't either.

anon244286
Post 15

It's stupid. I may become a serial ear ripper and start pulling them out of every emo teeny bopper idiot I see wearing them. Most get them to make themselves feel original, but it's ugly and just plain stupid.

anon164413
Post 12

It's called "gauging". It is a term used by body modification professionals everywhere. What your doing is called "i want to pretend i know more than everyone else by being technical." No one cares. We all like big holes in our ears, that's all that matters. Call it whatever you want. Don't pretend you're knowledgeable by saying everyone else is stupid because they say gauge instead of stretch.

anon133603
Post 10

it is not called gauging. a gauge is a unit of measurement. "gauging" does not describe the process of stretching. that's like saying burritoing, or pizzaing, instead of eating.

anon66735
Post 6

Technically, gauging isn't a word. When i started stretching my ears a few years ago(before it was the popular thing to do) it wasn't very accepted to call it gauging, but instead "stretching to put in different gauges."

Nowadays it's nothing and no one cares. If people talk about it they usually understand that it's just common slang to say "i gauge my ears." Personally, i say stretching.

anon38858
Post 3

it is called gauging.

anon21457
Post 2

It's called stretching, *not* gauging.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email