Sometimes it's the only way to deal with a writer.
Willow: The coroner's office said she was missing an ear. So I'm thinking, Maybe we're looking for a witch. There's some great spells that work much better with an ear in the mix.
This trope describes damage or painful actions done to the ears:
- Someone's ear is cut clean off
- Someone's ear is otherwise sliced
- Someone's ear is pulled, yanked, or twisted
- Someone's ear is bitten (and sometimes torn off)
- Someone's ear has something sharp stuck into it
- Someone's eardrums burst
- Something like a virus/parasite forces itself into someone's ear (do not confuse with Ear Worm)
Compare Eye Scream
, for similar nasty things happening to a character's eyes, or Fingore
and Agony of the Feet
, when the targets are the fingers and toes.
See also Shell-Shock Silence
, and its aversion Steel Eardrums
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Anime & Manga
- In Hunter × Hunter, Meruem is annoyed his opponent continued a game they were playing, despite it being obvious he had won it many turns ago. When the other played stammers too much in fear and is unable to answer, Meruem jabs at him with his needle tipped tail and rips his ear off, then kills him when the man tries to run away.
- In Peacemaker Kurogane, Yoshida cuts Tetsunosuke's ear during their battle. It's later shown bandaged.
- A running gag in the anime was that Misty would yank on Brock's ear whenever he hit on a girl, which was often. When she made a reappearance in Hoenn and went through the routine again, Max quickly picked up on it.
- Ash himself gets pulled on the ear by Shaymin in the movie Pokémon: Giratina and the Sky Warrior.
- Rurouni Kenshin: After Kenshin disables Enishi's sense of balance with a supersonic attack, Enishi decides to reduce the effect by pulling out his own eardrum. Ouch.
- Eyeshield 21: Yamabushi does this to Ikkyu when he's being tactless.
- In Haruhi Suzumiya, Haruhi does this to Mikuru, though it was more like foreplay than injury.
- After her husband dies in Uzumaki, Shuichi's mother develops a phobia of spirals, because she always sees her husband in them. When she finds out that there's a spiral in the ear (the cochlea), she drives a pair of scissors through her ears to get them out.
- At the very beginning of Arashi No Yoru Ni, a wolf actually gets his ear bitten off by an angry mother sheep while protecting her lamb from him and the rest of his pack before they finally kill the mother sheep, who before her death tells said lamb, Mei, to run away for his own safety.
- Saint Seiya
- In the first episode, Seiya actually does this to Cassios, cutting off his left ear during their first fight.
- Siegfried applies this to himself, piercing his eardrums to not fall victim to Sorrento's Magic Music.
- In the Fairy Tail manga, Erigor use his wind powers to slice Kageyama's ears when the latter made a mistake.
- A Certain Magical Index
- We have battle nuns who, in order to counter Index's spell, sticks pens into their ears to break their eardrums.
- Later, Shizuri Mugino rams a screwdriver into Shiage Hamazura's ear. It renders his ear canal bloody, but fortunately didn't go in deep enough to break his eardrum.
- Blade of the Immortal seems to like this. Giichi got one of his ears cut off by Sousuke, and Kagehisa gets his ear sliced by Habaki.
- In Gamaran, Zenmaru manages to chop Sasuke's ear along with some flesh around it.
- In Pandora Hearts Retrace LXXXI, Uncle Oscar gets part of his ear shot off when he redirects the bullet that Oz (under Jack's control) aimed at him.
- In Bleach, Mask de Masculine uses his fingers to poke out his own eardrums to render himself immune to Rose's sound-based Bankai.
- Secret Six: Scandal Savage bites off an enemy's ear in battle; when the enemy cries out for its return, Scandal nonchalantly replies, "Sorry, I've swallowed it."
- During the Reads arc of Cerebus the Aardvark, Cerebus gets his right ear mostly cut off during a swordfight.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- One Amanda Show skit featured a boy's ear accidentally being cut off while he was getting his hair cut. The barber then puts it into a barrel full of the ears of past customers that were accidentally cut off.
- Firefly: In the episode "War Stories," Adelai Niska cuts off Mal's ear after Zoe rescues Wash, because the ransom she paid was "too much for just one man."
- In Battlestar Galactica, Cally bites off part of an attempted rapist's ear.
- Gaius Baltar is tortured at one point by a device inserted into his ear.
- Hyde's first outing in Jekyll results in the prolonged beating of a man who'd humiliated Jackman earlier that day — biting off one of ears as a finishing move. For added horror, Jackman wakes up the next morning to find the severed ear in his pocket.
- The saga of Moe's ear in Brotherhood. Granted, he really had it coming.
- In Friends, Phoebe stops a Cat Fight between Rachel and Monica by grabbing them by their ears.
- In Castle, Detective Beckett has a tendency to yank Castle's ear when he irritates her by listening in on conversations, getting close to her, and generally annoying her. Which is often.
- In Wild Boys, 'Mad Dog' Morgan claimed he got his nickname because he once bit a man's ear off in a fight. later in the episode, he actually does a bite a man's ear off, indicating that this may be a regular thing for him.
- In the first series of Luther, Alice Morgan does this to Luther's wife, Zoe.
- In an early episode of The Cosby Show, Theo rebelliously gets his ear pierced. As he had it done by a non-professional, his ear gets painfully infected.
- Mike from Breaking Bad gets the tip of his ear shot off when hiding inside a meth truck that a rival cartel attacked with a spray of bullets.
- On How I Met Your Mother, Barney pierces his own ear as part of a bet. Throughout the episode it becomes more and more infected, until he moans in agony that "it hurts so much I can hear it! I can hear my own ear!"
- The brother of the victim in the "Danny gets locked in the rich guy's panic room" episode of CSI NY got his ear cut off, it was later sent to his brother, who kept it in a jar.
- In the Tales from the Crypt episode "For Cryin' Out Loud", the bad guy tries to silence his conscience (voiced by Sam Kinison) by using cotton swabs to clear out his ears, but pushes them in too deep and destroys his ear drums. To add insult to injury, he becomes totally deaf, but can still hear the voice.
- In Salem, John Alden shoots off part of the magistrate's left ear before he and Isaac escape from having witnessed the witches performing a ritual.
- In Hannibal at the end of the first season, Will Graham vomits up a severed ear. Due to his increasing mental instability, it's not immediately clear to the viewers whether this is real or a hallucination. It turns out the ear belongs to Abigail, who had recently gone missing, and it kicks off The Reveal that Hannibal has been gradually planting evidence to frame Will as the serial killer.
- Copper: In "Home Sweet Home", Eva jumps on to Buzzy Burke's back and bites a chunk out of his ear.
- This was one of the injuries sustained by the protagonist of Johnny Cash's "A Boy Named Sue" during the big fight with his father.
- This is on the cover for the Butthole Surfers album Electriclarryland, complete with blood.
- Mick Foley had lost part of his ear during a wrestling match with Vader. The ropes were wound too tight already, so when Vader tied Foley up in the ropes and his ear was part of that? You can figure out the rest.
- The Sound and the Fury — the infamous 1997 rematch between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, which ended in Tyson's disqualification after twice biting Holyfield's ears, with the second time tearing off the upper part of it.
- In Hamlet, the ghost of Hamlet's father, the late king. tells Hamlet that his brother Claudius, Hamlet's uncle and the present king, usurped the throne by pouring poison in his ear while he was asleep. Doesn't make much sense from a medical perspective, but it allows Hamlet to say things like "the ear of Denmark is much abus'd".
- In a cutscene near the end of the first chapter of True Crime: Streets of LA, Nick Kang hurls a chopstick right into a Triad thug's ear.
- John Paul Getty III was kidnapped in 1973. His grandfather, the then world's richest man, American multi-billionaire oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, refused to pay his grandson's $3 million ransom until one of the boy's ears was cut off and sent to a newspaper.
- Probably the only universally known fact about Vincent van Gogh was that he cut off an ear. Which is kind of ironic, given he didn't. It was only the lobe, and it probably wasn't him that did the cutting.
- A common punishment for runaway slaves in the Antebellum South was to have an ear chopped off.
- The War of Jenkins' Ear, the Anglo-Spanish and naval part of the War of the Austrian Succession, gets its rather odd name from a very odd bit of history indeed. In 1731, Robert Jenkins was captain of the British merchantman Rebecca when Spanish coast guards intercepted and boarded it, suspecting that Jenkins was a British privateer (they had been plaguing Spanish traffic for some time at this point). Despite not finding any evidence of piracy, the Spanish cut off Jenkins's left ear as a kind of message to Britain. This incident didn't amount to much at the time, but when tensions between Great Britain and Spain increased in the late 1730s, Jenkins came out with his story once again, presenting the shrivelled ear to a committee of Parliament as evidence of Spain's misdeeds. This, with a few other similar affairs, led to the British declaration of war in 1739, and one of the most amusing casus belli of all time.
- The punishment for counterfeiting money in Colonial America was to have your ears cropped — that is, have the fleshy bits around the "shell" sliced away (You also got branded on the temple). Ouch.
- The old cliche of parents/teachers/other authority figures leading troublesome children around by the ear.