Cochlear is a proud sponsor of Ear Community, a non-profit organization that supports individuals who were born with Microtia and Atresia, Hemifacial Microsomia, Treacher Collins Syndrome, and Goldenhar Syndrome with varying degrees of hearing loss.
Through Ear Community’s advocacy, November 9 is now National Microtia Awareness Day! The day is dedicated to spreading hope and knowledge about Microtia, a congenital birth defect that derives its name from the Latin terms for little ears. Think of the number 9 as the shape of an ear.
Often affecting one ear or both ears, Microtia is diagnosed at birth, but there is little understanding as to why Microtia occurs. Facial challenges, hearing loss and the longing for social acceptance are some of the daily concerns for those who are born with Microtia.
Ear Community Founder Melissa Tumblin shares more:
“Approximately one child in every 9,000 is born with Microtia (when the ear(s) do not fully develop during the 1st trimester of pregnancy).
For most parents, the day of their child’s birth turns from celebration to concern and uncertainty. Initially, aside from the arrival of their beautiful new baby, they notice the outward signs of the condition – a small, curiously shaped ear or no ear at all. Depending on where these families live, doctors and nurses may be well versed in the condition and quickly educate and prepare parents, reassuring them. In others regions, the condition is rare enough that misinformation or lack of information quickly evaporates any remaining sense of celebration that accompanies a birth. Often when answers aren’t forthcoming, hopes and dreams become overshadowed by unnecessary challenges to a joyous occasion, but there are options and support!
It is the intention of Microtia Awareness Day to help promote public awareness and the hope that future generations of families will leave the hospital armed with more answers than questions and their dreams for their child intact.
Advancements in technology can improve the lives of those with Microtia too. From hearing aids and implants to surgical procedures and bio-ears that create new outer ears, all these improvements require research. Research requires time, trials and support.”
One available treatment option for those with Microtia is the Cochlear™ Baha® System. The Baha Softband is designed specifically for infants and toddlers under five years of age, and it is an ideal first step for children not yet ready for a bone conduction implant.
Use #MicrotiaAwarenessDay to celebrate the day on social media. For more information on National Microtia Awareness Day, click here.