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My five year old, Oakley, would like to ask

Why don't LEGO men have ears?

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4 Answers 4

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I can not give you an answer on behalf of TLG, but I can give you some good reasons as to why Minifigures do not have ears.

Authenticity: Lego figures have never had ears. In fact, the first figures did not even have faces, or articulating limbs. They were very basic. Here is a photo showing the basic evolution of minifigures over the years. The first 'figures' were introduced in the mid-1900s. Evolution of the Minifigure

Functionability: Adding ears to the head mold would greatly complicate things for Lego. Apart from the fact that ears would be likely to be broken off or get damaged, they would affect the compatability of heads.

All standard mold lego heads can fit just about every mold of hat and hair. However, if TLG started making heads with ears, they would have to redesign every single 'headgear' and 'hair' mold so that they would fit around/over the ears. As a result, for figures where ears are necessary, they are part of the headgear mold, not the head. You can see this in these two examples. Elf hat w/ ears Hair w/ ears

I hope that answers your son's question, and that you can simplify the reasons for him :)

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    Also, since a number of minifig faces have two expressions, one of the front and one on the back, the ears would be oriented wrong for at least one of the expressions.
    – nijineko
    Dec 29, 2016 at 17:35
  • True, I did not even think of that! That would certainly be an interesting spectacle :) Dec 29, 2016 at 19:00
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    @nijineko That's a much later addition, though. It just prevents ears from being added now, but they could have been added earlier (in turn, preventing introduction of dual-faced heads). Jul 11, 2019 at 15:01
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I thought it might be worth including one of the precursors to the beloved Lego minifigures; Maxifigures (Homemaker Figures). They did have ears: enter image description here

If you compare these hair pieces to those of common minifigures, you can see that there is an implied ear in the profile of the side:
enter image description here enter image description here

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    And if you look at sets like 268 <bricklink.com/v2/catalog/catalogitem.page?S=268-1> you can see that today's minifigures were also there - but I'll let you look at the photos to see how they were used.
    – RSchulz
    Jun 20 at 1:26
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    @RSchulz Even though I've seen sets like that before, it's still hilarious whenever they come up Jun 20 at 1:30
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While there are no visible ears recently deaf minifigs have been introduced.
I have Missions Animal rescue 60353 which has a Minifigure with a hearing aid. I don't have or know what other sets have deaf Minifigures. Probably this the closest to ears that can be seen.

head with hearing aid

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    Official pictures doesn't seem to to show this. Perhaps you could take your own picture and include in your answer to improve the visual aspect of your statement?
    – Alex
    Jun 18 at 17:05
  • Didn't show up well on the camera I have.
    – Afol13
    9 hours ago
  • Isn't that just a bluetooth earpiece, rather than a hearing aid? My grandma's hearing aid is located entirely within the earshell, while this appears to wrap around it.
    – MMM
    20 mins ago
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Just to add to, or elaborate on, the other good answer(s); It may solely come down to the cost of production. I remember reading on several occasions that the molds were very expensive to make. Having a simplified shape make the part a more universal piece, not just for minifigure heads. That being said, I suppose they could have printed them on. But that has it's own potential problems mentioned in the previous comments.

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