MSD Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link

Ear Defects

By

Simeon A. Boyadjiev Boyd

, MD, University of California, Davis

Medically Reviewed Sep 2022
VIEW PROFESSIONAL VERSION
Topic Resources

Ears can be missing, deformed, or incompletely developed at birth.

Birth defects of the ear include the following:

Microtia and external auditory canal atresia often occur together and are usually identified at or soon after birth.

Low-set ears may occur with a number of genetic syndromes, and children often have developmental delays. Ears are considered low set if the top of the ear is below the outer corners of the eyes.

Examples of Birth Defects of the Ear

Diagnosis of Ear Defects

  • A doctor's evaluation

  • Hearing tests

  • Imaging tests of the skull

  • Sometimes genetic testing

Doctors can identify many ear defects during a physical examination.

A baby who has birth defects of the ear may be evaluated by a geneticist. A geneticist is a doctor who specializes in genetics (the science of genes and how certain qualities or traits are passed from parents to offspring). Genetic testing of a sample of the baby's blood may be done to look for chromosome and gene abnormalities. This testing can help doctors determine whether a specific genetic disorder is the cause and rule out other causes.

Treatment of Ear Defects

  • Surgery

  • Hearing aid

Treatment of ear defects may involve reconstructive surgery to create a normal-looking external ear and to create an external ear canal.

Because abnormal genes may be involved in the formation of birth defects of the ear, affected families may benefit from genetic counseling.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: VIEW PROFESSIONAL VERSION
VIEW PROFESSIONAL VERSION
quiz link

Test your knowledge

Take a Quiz! 
iOS ANDROID
iOS ANDROID
iOS ANDROID
TOP