Microtia Ear and Hearing
Depending on the severity of the microtia ear, hearing may or may not be affected. However, since the most common form is grade 3, which involves a lack of components of the middle ear including an ear canal and ear drum, hearing is commonly affected. These patients will generally have no hearing on the affected side but completely normal hearing in the normal ear.
Conductive Hearing Loss
Patients who lack an ear canal may also have other structural abnormalities of the middle ear including a lack of an eardrum and the small middle ear bones. These small bones conduct hearing through the middle ear. The hearing loss associated with microtia is generally what is known as conductive hearing loss. That is hearing loss that is caused by an insufficient conduction of sound to the inner ear. This can be corrected with surgery for most microtia ear patients unless there is also a malformation of the inner ear or cochlea.
Repairing the Inner Ear
In most cases as long as the inner ear is present surgery (see Atresia and Microtia) can correct the deficiencies in the middle ear. Surgically correcting the outer ear with the rib graft technique creates the "cupping" effect for sound to travel to the middle ear.
Using Rib Cartilage Graft Reconstruction technique, it is recommended that patient complete the four step surgical process of outer ear reconstruction prior to having the surgery to correct middle ear issues. Once the outer ear reconstruction is complete, patients can have surgery to remedy the issues involving the middle ear and hearing can be restored in the affected ear.
If the inner ear or cochlear is not present, this is what is known as sensorineural hearing loss. If hearing loss is severe or profound, these patients may be good candidates for cochlear implants or a bone anchoring hearing aid (BAHA) to restore partial hearing.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Mark Mitchell Jones.