What Is Ear Gauging? How Do You Get Your Ears Gauged?

For many people body art and modification is nothing new. And as of lately, you do not hear body modification referred to as a way to “rebel” against your parents or other elders. It is starting to become more and more acceptable, even in the work place and other formal events. And from a personal standpoint, I feel that it is a great way to express yourself. I, myself, have 6 tattoos at the ripe old age of 25. However, tattoos are generally something that you do not see on someone under the age of 18. So is there a way for the younger generation to modify there bodies?

How Much Does It Cost to Get Your Ears Gauged?

It costs nothing to get your ears gauged if they’re already pierced.
You do have to pay for the new, larger earrings though. And it does hurt
a little bit.

What is Ear Gauging?

Simply put, ear gauging is making the small hole you may have gotten from the ear piercer at the mall and step by step, you are going to make the hole much bigger. Gauges work their way down in steps of 2. For example, when you had your ear pierced they probably put a 20 or 18 gauge hole in your ear. 20 is smaller than 18, and 16 is bigger than 18. Make sense? To put this in perspective, if you have a pin dot of a hole now at a size of an 18 gauge, a size 2 would almost allow you to put your thumb through the hole. Smaller is bigger. Are you interested in gauging your ears?

How to Gauge Your Ears

Before this article jumps right in to telling you how to make the holes in your ear bigger, here is a few suggestions:


The reason for #1 is so that you are aware that everyone is different. This will mean that you will heal at a different rate of time, you may be more sensitive/insensitive to pain, and may be more prone to infections. Although a friends advice is helpful, they are not a professional. If you have any questions, talk to your local ear piercers.

  • Be sure this is what you want. Some people’s ears will shrink back after time, others will not. Do not play that risk if you are not sure you want a big hole in your ear.
  • Although there may be slight pressure when performing this, your ear should not be in excruciating pain or bleeding. If it is, take the jewelry out and go the next smaller size.
  • Do not skip sizes. Give your body time to heal and in the meantime, really consider if going to the next size is right for you.
  • Be sure to clean the area at least 2 times per day with a sea salt solution. You can find many of these prepackaged in local shops or in the form of an aerosol can.

    And with that, it is time to gauge your ears.

  • If your ear has not been pierced, you will need to do that prior. If you would like a head start ask the artist to pierce your ear to a little bit bigger size.
  • First thing you will want to do is clean your ear very well. I would even go as far as putting on gloves so that no oil or dirt from your hands can go near your ears and possibly create an infection.
  • Clean the jewelry well. Use only high grade glass or stainless steel as other materials such as acrylic, plastic, and wood harbor bacteria much easier.
  • Lube the piercing up a little bit as well as your ear. Start to insert the jewelry in your ear slowly and continue to do so until it is through.
  • If you feel the need, use a taper and if you can push it more than halfway through you are definitely ready to accept the next size up jewelry.
  • Be sure to clean your ears with a sea salt solution and continue to do so 2-3 times per day for at least two weeks. It will not hurt anything to clean your ears even when it looks healed and is better than an infection.
  • Wait 1-2 months, maybe sooner or later, and go to the next size down. The jewelry will feel a bit loose in your ear and that is a good sign that you are ready.

As I am sure you can tell, it is not very difficult to gauge your ears. It takes more common sense than experience and if done correctly you will have avoided turning your ear into a scab and/or an infection. You need to be aware that this should be slightly discomforting in the worst case scenario. It should not be painful and blood should not be running down the side of your face. Ultimately, your body will tell you when you are ready to go to the next size or if there is any problems. Be sure to listen to it and if you have any other questions, ask your local artist.