You can probably sneak up on those matts & just work on them little by little. Keep some brushes & scissors by the lounge so when you are cuddling you can sneak a little grooming in. Yes, if you snip those matts through vertically, you can gently teaste them out & they are less likely to reappear that if you chop them off horizontally.
Sonny never got matts in his ears until the vet cut the hair there when he was looking for a suspected tick. It took about 6 months before those matts stopped forming.
I use a slicker brush & just start brushing from the bottom of the matt, & then as it starts to loosen up, work upwards.
i have a sensitive ( read : mama's boy) cocker who does not tolerate pain (brushing over that mats) well. He will at most let me brush him for 5 min...that is if i hold him really tight.
we've had the groomer shaved the back of the ear off when it gets too mat. once I shaved the area i make sure the area is brushed regularly so it doesn't become mat again as the short hair tangles with the long one. I found its easier and less dangerous for him to be shaved instead of scissored. He can be jumpy sometimes and scissored are just too pointy/sharp for him at times. (he has so much hair.....i dont think people can tell when the underside of his ears is shaved.)
oh! i think it actually helps him with ear infection as well.