about one's ears
Полностью сокрушительно, "провально"; губительно для чьих-л. планов, надежд или счастья.
They planned to have factories all over the world but the war brought their plans down about their ears.
John hoped to go to college and become a great scientist some day, but when his father died he had to get a job, and John's dreams came crashing around his ears.
Ср.: ON ONE'S HEAD.