Most patients with microtia also have aural atresia, which means absence of an ear canal. Patients who do not have an ear canal may be able restore their hearing with aural atresia repair or by use of a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA). Dr. Charles Thorne in Lenox Hill, Manhattan, partners with a talented and trusted otologist for rebuilding the inner ear. A BAHA can be worn immediately after birth. Aural atresia repair is best performed after the auricular reconstruction.
Understanding Aural Atresia Repair and BAHAs
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Aural atresia repair involves restoring inner ear hearing loss through the surgical construction of an ear canal and an ear drum. A Bone Anchored Hearing Aid on the other hand consists of two types:
- Soft Band BAHA: During this procedure, a small processor is attached to a band worn around the head that receives and sends sounds to the middle ear bones, transmitting sound waves to the brain. This is traditionally chosen for infants with middle ear or conductive hearing loss.
- BAHA (Bone Anchored Hearing Aid): Rather than remaining on a band around the head, the processor is connected to a titanium post in the skull. Patients must be at least five years old and have adequate skull density to undergo this procedure. This type of aid provides the best possible replacement for the middle ear function.
To determine which option is most appropriate, Dr. Thorne will conduct a thorough assessment of you or your child's ears during a consultation.
This patient underwent both an aural atresia repair and a reconstruction of the external ear.
What are the Benefits?
Patients who undergo aural atresia repair or who wear a BAHA can enjoy restored hearing almost immediately. This is especially beneficial for young patients who have aural atresia on both sides and are functionally deaf without hearing aids or aural atresia repair. When this procedure is combined with rib cartilage ear reconstructive surgery, patients can have both their hearing and outer ear aesthetics restored, providing a better quality of life and improved self-confidence.
Who is a Candidate?
Unfortunately, aural atresia repair is not always a viable option. About 50 percent of patients with microtia are candidates for aural atresia repair based on the extent of the deformity of the middle ear structures. Patients with Treacher Collins syndrome are almost never candidates for surgical repair of the aural atresia. Fortunately, almost all patients with microtia are candidates for the BAHA which actually provides superior hearing in the long term compared to aural atresia repair.
What to Expect During the Procedure
As one of the more challenging ear reconstruction surgeries available, aural atresia repair is always performed by an experienced otologist. A typical procedure usually includes providing the patient with a sterile, skin-lined external auditory canal in addition to improving hearing. Dr. Thorne works closely with a trusted and skilled otologist to make sure patients achieve optimal results.
Patients who undergo aural atresia repair can enjoy restored hearing almost immediately
If your child suffers from congenital aural atresia in addition to microtia, we encourage you to make an appointment with Dr. Thorne to determine if he or she is a candidate for aural atresia repair or a BAHA. The sooner treatment can be performed, the greater their chance of having hearing restored during crucial developmental stages.
Learn if Aural Atresia Repair is Right for You
Please contact our office today online or give us a call at 212-794-0044 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Thorne. He will perform a complete examination and outline the most suitable treatment options.