Infant Ear Molding: Which System is Right For My Newborn?
If your baby was born with some type of ear deformity, wherein the ear shape deviates from the normal exterior ear anatomy, you’re not alone. Studies show that approximately one-third of newborns have a congenital (since birth) ear deformity that typically does not resolve on its own. Fortunately, new techniques have been developed to correct many different ear deformities without surgical intervention. Our highly trained craniofacial plastic surgeon outlines the three primary infant ear molding systems available on the market below:
The EarBuddies™ system was invented by English plastic surgeon David Gault, FRCS in 1990. Available in the form of a comprehensive kit, EarBuddies™ is designed to shape the cartilage of the ears using bendable splints that can be contorted to the shape you need. The kit comes with two sizes of adhesive tape to secure the splints, a beanie cap to keep the molding device in place, an adhesive remover, a skin prep cleanser, and an industrial-grade hair trimmer. Dr. Payne comments that the DIY EarBuddies™ kit is often more economical than other ear molding systems on the market, but cautions patients that some parents failed to achieve the desired results with the EarBuddies™ system.
The InfantEar™ kit is a one-time use treatment for either the right or left ear that is typically available for purchase by physicians only. The ear correction system uses a soft, biocompatible C-shaped device placed behind the ear to mold it into the proper form during the course of a three week-long therapy. Like EarBuddies™, InfantEar™ includes a beanie cap to hold the device in place, adhesive remover, and a small hair trimmer. However, this system utilizes velcro to secure the device, which is fastened to the skin behind the ear with tape. A silicone gel is also applied around the pieces of the device and ear folds, hardening to keep the structure stable. The silicone does not enter the ear canal so it should not affect or limit hearing. While InfantEar™ is meant to be used for three weeks, Dr. Payne notes that the natural turnover of skin cells makes it difficult to keep the device fastened for more than 10 to 14 days.
Designed by Becon Medical, Ltd., the EarWell™ Infant Ear Correction System is the option utilized longest and most favorably by Dr. Payne. The kit comes in two ear molding sizes to attain a comfortable fit for your newborn: medium and large. The EarWell™ device covers the entire ear, thereby protecting the mold and keeping it in place. The system is slightly more complex to use than other options on the market, but Dr. Payne comments that the kit has every piece he needs to correct the ear shape and achieve great results.
You can watch Dr. Payne break down each of the systems above in the following video:
If you have any questions about infant ear molding kits or how to use them, please don’t hesitate to contact our practice and schedule a consultation with Dr. Payne.