Ear deformities are a relatively common occurrence in infants. Statistical data indicates that an infant ear deformity is present in 15 – 30% of newborns. For many years, the standard approach has been to “wait and see” if the child’s ears would self-correct. In part, this advice is given because there isn’t a safe, non-invasive way to treat infant ear deformities and infant otoplasty is rarely performed.
Many ear deformities do not self-correct. Traditional treatment for the correction of ear deformities is ear surgery, which cannot be performed until the child is 5 years old. Recent clinical studies have shown that another option, ear molding, can correct infant ear deformities without the need for surgery. Dr. Morin offers one such system, the EarWell™ Infant Ear Correction System, to his patients. He believes that all infants with an ear deformity should be assessed to determine whether ear molding is a viable option. The EarWell™ system provides the same results as infant ear surgery – without the need for actual surgery.
Children born with a baby ear deformity are more likely to be victims of bullying, teasing, and taunting, which can lead to feelings of self-consciousness and low self-esteem that can last a lifetime. Once the bullying starts, many parents begin to think about ear surgery to improve the appearance of their child’s ears and, hopefully, put a stop to the taunting.
While ear surgery is relatively safe, it carries with it a certain level of risk and involves an uncomfortable recovery process. Individuals with ear deformities who do not undergo surgery as a child often request surgery when they are older. At this point, surgery can be even more painful and will require time off of work. Cosmetic ear surgery is also expensive and rarely covered by insurance companies.
The cartilage in a newborn’s ears is very flexible and pliable for the first 6 weeks of life due to increased levels of estrogen in the infant. During this brief period of time, the ear can be easily shaped into a more natural shape. The EarWell™ Infant Ear Correction System takes advantage of this phenomenon. This plastic device is fitted around the infant’s ear within the first 6 weeks of life and holds the ear in a more typical shape and position as the cartilage hardens over the next several weeks.
During clinical studies, EarWell™ was successful in reshaping infants’ ears and maintaining their new shape in more than 90% of cases. It is a non-invasive solution that negates the need for baby otoplasty or ear surgery later on. The EarWell™ system does not appear to cause any pain or discomfort to the infant while it is being worn. It requires continuous use, but the entire treatment takes only 6 – 8 weeks.
The EarWell™ system will only be effective when applied early in a child’s life. Ideally, the EarWell™ device will be applied within the first 3 weeks of life. Dr. Morin encourages his patients not to delay if they are considering EarWell™ as the best results are seen when the device is applied as early as possible.
EarWell™ has been used to reshape thousands of infant ears. If you feel reluctant about having a plastic mold placed on your young baby’s ears, we encourage you to consider the long-term consequences of ear deformities. Because early intervention with ear molding can prevent the need for baby ear surgery, Dr. Morin strongly encourages new parents to consider this non-invasive option.
We encourage anyone who is considering EarWell™ to make an appointment with Dr. Morin immediately, as the window of opportunity for using the device passes very quickly. Dr. Morin will take the time to discuss your concerns and help you decide if EarWell™ is the right choice for your family. Consultations for EarWell™ can be performed at our New York City or Hackensack office – please contact us today to set up your appointment.