The original vent line is cut at a 45° angle, so when it's plugged into the ear it can't get blocked against the back wall of the housing. If the hose has a straight cut, it's not the OEM configuration. I'm pretty sure there's no air connection there between the vent line and the air filter.
If you don't want to use an ear, the fuel sending unit on the bottom of the tank has a plastic cover on it, and there's a blank hose nipple on that cover which makes a good place to put the vent line. Mine is currently zip-tied to the frame under the center of the tank, facing the rear. If you get farther back toward the seat, wind can be a problem. Under the seat isn't a good spot either.
If the steel wool works, it's probably fine, as long as none of the wool ends up in the carb. That could be a nightmare to clean out.
If you want to use the ear, you can get a plastic 'coupling' to splice an extra piece at the end, which should be easier than getting to the line down at the carbs.