Congenital Aural Atresia

An example of microtia with aural atresia.

An example of microtia with aural atresia.

Aural atresia refers to the absence of an external ear canal. When someone has aural atresia, there is a high incidence of malformation of the external ear and middle ear also, but the inner ear and auditory nerve are frequently normal.  A narrowed ear canal (i.e. one where the eardrum can be viewed, but the canal is narrower than normal) is sometimes referred to as a stenotic canal, or canal stenosis.  Aural atresia most commonly affects just one ear (unilateral aural atresia), but can occur both ears (bilateral aural atresia).

Atresia is most frequently isolated, but can be a symptom of a larger syndrome, such as Treacher Collins, Goldenhar, and several other syndromes. 

Aural Atresia Repair

There are several treatment options for aural atresia.  It is possible to create a normal sized ear canal from either a stenotic canal or complete aural atresia, this is called aural atresia repair surgery. 

Baha Implantation (Bone Anchored Hearing Appliance)

For patients who are not good atresia repair candidates, or where a skilled atresia repair surgeon is not available, a Baha device can be used to correct the hearing loss on the atretic side.

Baha Softband

The Baha external sound processor can also be worn on a headband. This is a good configuration for children under five. Bone Conduction Hearing Aids (BCHAs) are older technology which provides similar results. The Baha device is more reliable, less cumbersome, fully digital, and integrates with more tools (such as FM Systems) that may be in use in children’s classroom.

If your child or loved one is living with aural atresia, or if you have questions about your options for auditory rehabilitation, please contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with our team of experts.