Inside Stories

Why do old men have big ears?

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.7021.1668 (Published 23 December 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1668
  1. James A Heathcote, general practitionera
  1. aSouth View Lodge, Bromley, Kent BR1 3DR

    In July 1993, 19 members of the south east Thames faculty of the Royal College of General Practitioners gathered at Bore Place, in Kent, to consider how best to encourage ordinary general practitioners to carry out research. Some members favoured highly structured research projects; others were fired by serendipity and the observations of everyday practice. Someone said, “Why do old men have big ears? Some members thought that this was obviously true—indeed some old men have very big ears—but others doubted it, and so we set out to answer the question “As you get older do your ears get bigger?”

    Methods and results

    Four ordinary general practitioners agreed …

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