Diagnosis usually occurs at birth with the observation of a deformity of one or both ears. Children with the deformity often have a malformed or under-developed outer ear. After congenital atresia of the ear is detected, a special hearing test known as an auditory brainstem response (ABR) test is usually done to determine how well the hearing organ in the inner ear (the cochlea) is working.
Performed with electrodes attached to the patient’s head, an ABR test is especially beneficial with young children who aren’t able to verbalize what’s going on with their hearing like what’s normally done with a traditional hearing test. Early diagnosis and treatment is critical since approximately 30 percent of children with non-development of the ear canal affecting a single ear end up being held back in school.
Cosmetic Treatment Options
The appearance of a child’s ear may be improved with an artificial ear (prosthesis). The artificial ear is usually modeled after the other normally shaped ear. The prosthesis is secured to prevent movement with titanium screws implanted surgically into the head.
Another option is reconstruction of the affected ear with cartilage from one of the patient’s ribs. It usually takes multiple procedures performed over several months to complete reconstruction and produce an ear with a normal appearance.
If a child has ear canal development problems because of congenital atresia of the ear, some type of surgical or non-surgical rehabilitation will likely be recommended. The purpose of such efforts is to improve hearing capabilities as much as possible.
A number of different factors can cause chronic ear infections. Some of the most common contributors to this persistent illness are:
Any of these factors can cause a blockage in the Eustachian tube in the middle ear. Once this tube becomes blocked, it can no longer ventilate properly. The inner ear then becomes a moist, ideal haven for bacteria to accumulate and grow.
Once the bacteria start to increase in numbers, they cause a painful and possibly damaging infection in the middle ear. It is imperative that patients undergo treatments like antibiotics or surgery to open the tube back up and to eliminate the bacterial growth that is occurring in that part of the ear.
If it is not treated, the infection can cause the ear drum to rupture. In rare cases, the bacteria can make their way from the inner ear to the brain or spinal cavity, resulting in meningitis.
You can minimize your risk of chronic ear infections by washing your hands and avoiding people who are sick with a cold or the flu. You also should receive prompt and continued treatment for any seasonal allergies or asthma from which you suffer.