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Hearing with an implantable hearing aid (such as a bone conduction device) usually occurs at softer sounds on an audiogram than hearing after canal surgery. Hearing with a canal, however, is superior to hearing with a bone conduction device for several reasons.
First, directional hearing . . . not something you get with a BC HD - safety, sports performance, injury . . . all worse with BC devices.
Second, hearing in noise. The brain takes the input from two distinct ears to be able to extract spoken language from the sea of noise in which we live. That is not allowed with a BC HD as the device stimulates both inner ears (including a normal ear if the atresia-microtia is single sided) and performs inferiorly in noise compared to a canal.
Other reasons exist such as being able to wear a hearing aid in a canal if the hearing needs a small boost after surgery, life without a device (why would we construct a beautiful ear and then hang an electronic device right beside it?!), etc.
Some plastic surgeons who have literally no training in hearing science are recommending BC HD and patients are not even being evaluated for an ear canal. They are demonstrating their lack of knowledge about auditory physiology and neural development in children by giving this advice. It is bad for patients although I know it is easier and perhaps more profitable for the doctor / easier for the parents (one surgeon to take care of all issues). I am concerned with the increasing number of patients I am seeing who have had this happen. A large percentage of those children are being provided with less successful outcomes than they could have enjoyed."
Two patients in one week, each from a different continent, each had been told there was no surgery that can correct Atresia..., both children now hearing after surgery…frustrating. Makes me glad there’s the web as both found our website and became enlightened about possibilities. Many places don’t offer this surgery (and probably shouldn’t without experience), but it is maddening to hear of patients who are not told the truth about other options. I see it in our team when we treat patients like this - a burning desire to prove it can be done and done with excellence. It motivates us to attend 9 conferences in foreign countries each year and to put so much work into our website and papers, educational offerings and multiple weekly online free consultations.
We are happy to announce that videos from our 2014 Atresia Microtia Conferences are being added to AtresiaRepair.com. More videos are on their way as well! If you are interested in coming to a conference or it has been a few years since you attended a conference, please take a look at the updated videos here. If you are interested in attending a conference, please visit our conference schedule and see if we are coming to a venue near you. We add new dates and locations often, so check back or contact us if you would like to be on our email mailing list!
We have been researching two of the new and unique surgical procedures we use…..excited to say our protocol for making molds after surgery has reduced the chance of narrowing / stenosis as we suspected (You never know until you do statistics and study things scientifically, however!). The rate of stenosis has gone from 5.7% to 1.6% with the new protocol! It is very exciting to see results from surgery improving. Reports around the world have put stenosis as high as 18% in other centers. While the protocol takes a bit of work on the parents' part and on our part, it is well worth it to get us to the point of having this lower than anyone else in the world.