Research shows that almost 5% of the world’s population has protruding ears, also known as bat ears, with most people inheriting it through genetics.
While protruding ears don’t have a negative effect on hearing, they do change your facial appearance and can affect your self-esteem. Many children are subjected to teasing because of this slight difference in appearance, especially since your ears are generally the first extremity to reach full size during childhood.
A cartilage defect that appears during the intrauterine developmental phase is usually the most common cause of protruding ears. Because the cartilage is still, bat ears can be corrected within six months of birth using more conservative methods. However, once a child is older than 6 months, surgery is usually required.
Why are children born with protruding ears?
There are several reasons why someone might be born with bat ears but a genetic inheritance is usually the most common. There can, however, can be a defect during foetal development that can also cause this abnormality.
It is important to note that your child’s ear cartilage is the most soft during the first six months, which is why breastfeeding mothers should be aware of how they’re positioning their child during feeding since the ear will be bent repeatedly.
Trauma is another reason why ears might become disfigured, with boxers being a good example of repeated trauma.
Conditions such as Bell’s palsy can also cause the ears to droop. This is due to the facial nerves being paralysed. Since this condition usually only affects one side of the face, only one ear will be affected too.
In some cases, people may only become aware of protruding ears after the age of 60 since the ear and nose cartilage grow slowly over our lifetime and only become more prominent later in life.
Is surgery the only solution for protruding ears?
Unless the person in question is younger than six months, surgery is the only way to correct this condition.
If the patient is younger than six months, tapes and splints can be used to remould the ear since the cartilage is still soft and the ear more flexible.
The earlier you can start the process of remoulding your child’s ears, the better the results will be. These splints will need to be worn throughout the day and the night, with extra care being taken to help the child sleep as upright as possible so that there’s very little weight being applied to the ears.
At this bat ear correction clinic, Dr Zurek will be able to assist your child with the taping of their ears or discuss the various other options available to correct protruding ears.