Microtia is a congenital malformation of the external ear. A condition in which an individual is born with an abnormally small pinna and often a very small or absent ear canal. The severity of microtia can range from mild to severe. In mild cases, the pinna may only be slightly smaller than normal. In severe cases, the pinna may be completely absent.
What Causes Microtia?
The exact cause of microtia is unknown. However, it is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some of the genes that have been linked to microtia include the PITX2 gene, the FGFR1 gene, and the SOX10 gene. Environmental factors that may contribute to microtia include exposure to certain chemicals during pregnancy, such as alcohol and tobacco smoke.
Can Microtia Be Corrected?
Yes, microtia can be corrected through surgery. The goal of surgery is to create a more normal-looking pinna. There are a variety of surgical techniques that can be used, depending on the severity of the microtia.
Are People with Microtia Deaf?
Not necessarily. However, people with microtia are more likely to have hearing loss than people with normal-sized ears. This is because microtia is often associated with aural atresia, which is a birth defect that results in the absence of an ear canal. Aural atresia can cause conductive hearing loss, which means that sound waves are not able to travel effectively through the ear canal to the inner ear.
What is Microtia with Birth Defect?
Microtia is often associated with other birth defects, such as facial deformities, heart defects, and skeletal abnormalities. In some cases, microtia may be part of a syndrome, such as Goldenhar syndrome or Treacher Collins syndrome.
Audiological Implications of Microtia
The audiological implications of microtia vary depending on the severity of the malformation. In mild cases, people with microtia may have normal hearing. However, in more severe cases, people with microtia may have conductive hearing loss, which means that sound waves are not able to travel effectively through the ear canal to the inner ear. In some cases, people with microtia may also have sensorineural hearing loss, which means that there is damage to the inner ear or the auditory nerve.
Treatment for Microtia and Hearing Loss
The treatment for microtia and hearing loss depends on the severity of the malformation and the degree of hearing loss. In mild cases, people with microtia may only need hearing aids to improve their hearing. However, in more severe cases, people with microtia may need surgery to correct the malformation and/or a cochlear implant to improve their hearing.
If you have microtia or hearing loss, it is important to see an audiologist for a complete evaluation. The audiologist will be able to assess your hearing and recommend the best treatment for you.