There are several treatment options for microtia: reconstruction of the ear, a prosthetic ear or just leaving it alone. Lurie Children’s Microtria Program staff counsel parents on all of the options during the initial clinic visit.
Ear reconstructions can be performed using cartilage, which is sculpted into a new ear and placed under the skin on the microtic side. The cartilage is from the child’s own ribs. This method is preferred over synthetic implants because the cartilage is part of the child’s own body. Also, after surgery and when the ear is healed, there are no restrictions on activity. The reconstructed ear will continue to grow with the child. Most children do not undergo surgery to treat microtia until the ear has stopped growing — usually around 10 years of age.
Atresia with Hearing Loss Treatment
All children with aural atresia undergo a formal hearing test (audiogram), usually between 6-12 months of age. They should continue to have their hearing checked at least yearly or anytime there is a major change. Children with bilateral atresia are typically fitted with a headband that has hearing aids attached so that they may hear sounds and develop speech in a normal fashion.
One option for treatment is an “osseointegrated” hearing device – either the BAHA® Attract or Sophono Alpha 2. Lurie Children’s is one of the first centers in the U.S. to implant the BAHA® Attract, a new device to aid in hearing rehabilitation. These are hearing processors that attach to a magnetic device implanted under the skin. The device sends the hearing signal from the bone directly to the hearing nerve to transmit sound. The device is safe, and implanted with one surgery. Activation is done only one month later. When children reach age 5, they are candidates for implantation and are tested with the audiologists to see if this will benefit them.