Gauging is an ear piercing method that is essentially ear stretching. Gauge refers to the diameter of your piercing. 18 - 20-gauge needles are used for standard ear piercing. The lower the gauge number of the needle, the larger the hole. Gauge sizes increase in increments of two. So if your ears were pierced with a 20-gauge needle, you would next purchase an 18-gauge ring or body jewelry ear plug to begin stretching your ear. Begin the stretching process slowly, waiting for your earlobe to heal before you step up in size. If you increase the size too fast, you could create unsightly scar tissue.