Definitely cultural in some form or fashion throughout history.
Studs and huggies are big-time fashion accessories for men with piercings today. The charm and charisma men’s earrings add are no secret. Men who slay the earring look are hot and irresistible, aren't they? But do you know how it all started? When did men start wearing earrings. First of all...inoxjewelry.in
You say your ancestors wore only "an earring." Could be they just wore one on the side closest to the cannon, so they could still hear other commands with the other ear?those who fired the ships' cannons during close combat with the enemy, dangled wads of wax from their earrings to use as earplugs
Interesting. Do you know whether they wore a stud or a hoop? Much of Puglia is on the coast, so maybe they were sailors or fishermen or pirates. An article from LiveScience.com says,
You say your ancestors wore only "an earring." Could be they just wore one on the side closest to the cannon, so they could still hear other commands with the other ear?
You sound like a native speaker of English, so I don't know whether your family still speaks/reads Italian, but here's a whole article on Italian sailors and why they wore earrings:
Quando i marinai portavano gli orecchini: Si pensava anche che il buco all'orecchio potesse migliorare la vista [When sailors wore earrings: They thought having a hole in their ear could improve their eyesight] driveway coating removal