Parents of children with microtia often choose surgery for their offspring. This isn’t surprising considering that microtia has physical and psychological impact on affected children. Parents being parents, they want to minimize the negative effects of microtia on their children.
Take note that microtia is a congenital deformity characterized by an underdeveloped external ear. Just as there are variations in size and shape in developed ears, there are also wide variances in microtia. Nonetheless, most children with microtia have moderate to severe conductive hearing loss due to the abnormalities in the outer ear.
Even with the risks including side effects and complications of microtia surgery, most parents of children with the condition opt for it. Here are two of the common reasons.
Studies have shown that children with hearing impairments are more likely to have lower self-esteem and self-confidence. This is worsened by the visible signs of the hearing loss, such as in the case of microtia.
Their lower levels of self-esteem and self-confidence are attributed to their decreased ability to communicate with others. The inability to hear sounds and voices make them less able to recognize auditory cues and make appropriate responses. With these disabilities, they feel more isolated and less included in the everyday activities of their family and friends.
Their feelings of isolation become more pronounced in schools. Typically, school-age children with hearing impairments are either placed in a different class for the entirety of the school day or separated for part of the day in special education classrooms.
Even at home, children with hearing impairments can experience stress from their parents and siblings for the same reasons. They may feel isolated from certain activities, perhaps feel discriminated against even when there isn’t an intention.
With surgery, fortunately, children with hearing loss issues have the opportunity to be part of the hearing world. By opening up their hearing, so to speak, their social interactions with family and friends will blossom. In time, their self-confidence will increase – and that’s what parents who choose surgery for them want to happen.
The more common reason for parents choosing surgery for microtia for their kids is to improve the appearance of their external ears. Unfortunately, children without a visible external ear or an abnormal external ear are likely to be ridiculed and bullied by their peers. Even their parents can be subjected to weird looks and awkward questions, if not rude comments, from others!
The stress of dealing with the stares, questions and comments, even the bullying, can really take its toll. Parents then are justified in their choice to ask their children’s pediatricians for surgical options to correct the abnormal ears.
The bottom line: If you are a parent with a child diagnosed with microtia, you are well-advised to explore the treatment options for the condition. Your child deserves it and you will breathe easier for it, too.
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Hong Kong based ENT clinic centre
For ENT Services, Audiology & Speech Therapy,
Sleep Disordered Breathing Management,
Hearing Aid Prescription & Medical Cosmetic Services