Railroad Track Ears vs Normal

What are Railroad Track Ears?

Railroad track ears are a distinguishing physical feature characterized by the underdevelopment of the top section (curve) of the outer ear. The ear seems like a railroad track because of the underdevelopment that leads it to fold over and align parallel to the curve beneath it. This condition is not a disease or disorder, but rather an indication of an underlying problem like FASD.

    Association with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)

    Research has demonstrated a substantial link between FASD and railroad track ears. There is a greater incidence of railroad track ears among those with FASD, according to research, however not all FASD individuals will have this physical trait. In order to identify prospective cases of FASD, healthcare practitioners frequently consider this trait as one of the markers.

    Railroad Track Ears vs Normal

    Identifying Railroad Track Ears

    A keen eye and the right instruction are needed to recognize railroad track ears. During a clinical examination, healthcare professionals, especially those with experience in diagnosing FASD, can identify this physical characteristic. It can be distinguished from ear development that is typical by looking at the ear's folding and alignment.

    Fundamental Causes

    The specific mechanism leading the development of railroad track ears in people with FASD is not entirely known. It is thought that alcohol exposure during fetal development interferes with proper tissue growth and formation, resulting in certain distinctive physical traits. To completely understand the root causes, more study is necessary.

    Additional FASD-Related Physical Features

    In addition to railroad track ears, FASD might have other physical characteristics that help with diagnosis. These could include limb and joint deformities, small heads, low body weights, and various facial and physical defects. Recognizing these bodily signs can help with early detection and intervention.

    Railroad Track Ears vs Normal Ears

    The term "Railroad" refers to a physical trait that is present in all cases of "Railroad" syndrome. This name refers to ears that resemble railroad tracks because the upper portion of the outer ear, or curve, is undeveloped, folded over, and parallel to the curve below it. A normal ear, on the other hand, has all of the structures present and well-formed (helix, antiehelix, tragus, antitragus, scaphoid/triangular fossa, and external auditory canal). 

    While some ear abnormalities are merely a cosmetic concern, other ear malformations can impact the underlying bones, nerves, cartilage, and muscles.

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