Ear piercing: The practice of using a needle or needle gun to make holes through the ear lobe or other parts of the ear for wearing jewelry. When done under hygienic conditions, there is little danger from ear piercing other than localized and transitory inflammation. Unhygienic conditions, handling the new piercing with unwashed hands, or the use of irritating jewelry can result in inflammation and/or infection. Infected ear piercings should be washed and then treated with antibiotic cream. One may choose to either allow the piercing to close or to use only non-irritating jewelry (usually gold or hypoallergenic plastic). The likelihood of inflammation and infection is greater for piercings that go through hard cartilage, as found on the side and top of the outer ear, than with the soft bottom lobe of the ear.