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1 out of every 6000 babies is born with an outer ear malformation.

Outer Ear Malformations in Newborns: Causes, Risks, and Treatment Options

1 out of every 6000 babies is born with an outer ear malformation. This may present as protruding ears, pointy or folded ears, or an overly small conchal bowl, the hollow area in the center of the ear. While these malformities can arise due to toxins or chemicals the fetus was exposed to, they are often simply caused by the positioning of the baby in the uterus. They usually pose no risk to the child’s hearing or physical health. However, they may subject the child to teasing and/or low self-esteem. The ears can be reshaped nonsurgically up to 3 weeks of age for best results. After this time, reconstructive surgery can be done on the ears starting approximately at the age of 6.


The EarWell Infant Ear Correction System is over 90% successful in correcting ear malformities within 3 weeks of birth, though starting within the first 5 days is preferred. Due to the malleability of the cartilage in the first few weeks of life, surgery is not required if intervention begins early. The system includes molds that attach onto the ear for approximately 4 to 6 weeks, holding the ear in the desired shape as the cartilage solidifies. The physician will shave some hair around the ears to allow the mold to stick to the skin. The physician will then place the adhesive piece onto the skin around the ear, and then the additional necessary molds. The molds are covered with an outer piece that snaps into place, which the parents can readjust if necessary. While the infant may experience some discomfort due to the unfamiliarity of the molds, the EarWell system is painless and poses no risk to the infant’s hearing. While putty can be used to shape the ears in some cases, the benefits of EarWell include its increased effectiveness and stability on the ear, so parents do not repeatedly have to replace it as the baby moves.


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