Microtia Awareness Day 2022: History, Significance and Celebrations

Microtia Awareness Day or National Microtia Awareness Day is annually celebrated on November 9th in the United States. This day aims to raise awareness about the condition of Microtia and Atresia. 

Approximately one child in every 9,000 is born with microtia. It occurs when the ear or ears do not fully develop during the first trimester of pregnancy — this leaves the child with small, underdeveloped, or no ears at all.

While microtia or atresia is diagnosed at birth, there is no clear understanding as to what leads to the disability. Children born with microtia may suffer hearing loss, facial challenges, and social negligence.

Event Microtia Awareness Day
Date November 9, 2022
Day Wednesday
Significance The day raises awareness about the condition of Microtia and Atresia.
Observed by United States


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Microtia Awareness Day History: 

Microtia and Atresia are naturally occurring disorders and probably it has existed since the start of the humans only. However because of lack of records it is not proven and seriously records mentioning these conditions only started much late in the recent centuries. Historically, attempts have been made to restore normal form and function by school age in order to prevent such social stigma. Treatment options include observation, treating the hearing loss component with devices such as bone-anchored hearing aids, applying a prosthetic ear for cosmetic improvement, and reconstructing the auricle with alloplastic implantation or costal cartilage autografting. 

The history of oesophageal atresia commenced in the year 1670 with Durston’s description of “A narrative of a monstrous birth at Plymouth”. However, the most significant contribution in the 17th century was made by Gibson, who clearly described the clinical picture and necropsy findings in a baby with a proximal oesophageal atresia and a distal tracheo-oesophageal fistula. The 18th century was singularly lacking in contributions to the literature, but there were many important presentations during the 19th century. 

As the medical science and technology advanced over the centuries the treatment has been made available to these conditions. However still today the reconstruction of ears as perfect is not fully achieved and can be risky so patients are mostly adviser to lice with these conditions for their life however there are certain treatments available which helps them in living with these conditions like by making them hear better through the use of objects like prosthetic ears, etc.  

The Ear Community organization founded Microtia Awareness Day in 2016. Melissa Tumblin founded Ear Community in 2010 after facing challenges due to insufficient information — her daughter was born with microtia. Since then, Ear Community has brought more than 6,500 people together from across the world to share experiences and resources. The community is made up of children and adults with microtia, their families, teachers, advocates, and medical professionals who provide care for those with microtia. 

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Microtia Awareness Day Significance: 

The purpose of National Microtia Awareness Day is to help promote public awareness about Microtia and Atresia. The founder created this Day as she herself is the mother of a child who has Microtia and Atresia, by creating this day she hope that families who have new babies born with Microtia and Atresia will leave the hospital armed with more answers than questions, and their dreams for their children intact. If more people learn about Microtia and Atresia, they will be kinder and more accepting. It is also a goal for the day that individuals with Microtia and Atresia to realize that they are not alone and that they have an entire community of support behind them.

Microtia is a condition where the ears are physically absent and in some cases one or both the ears are underdeveloped. Microtia is often followed with Aural Atresia – due to underdeveloped or absence of ear canals leading to hearing loss. Microtia is Latin for the words micro and otia, meaning “little ear.” Microtia is often accompanied by Atresia. Atresia (also known as aural atresia) is the absence or closure of the external auditory ear canal. The malformation of the middle ear bones (incus, stapes, and malleus) may be affected including the narrowing of the ear canal, known as canal stenosis. Atresia is Latin for absence of an opening. 

Approximately 630 babies are born each year with Microtia and Atresia in the United States (affecting 1 out of every 6,000 births). Current statistics show that Latino-Hispanic, Ecuadorian, Asian, and Native American ethnicities are affected more by Microtia and Atresia where as individuals who are of African American descent are the least affected. Most families who have a child with Microtia and Atresia have never known anyone else in their family to have missing ears or congenital hearing loss, while many other families have multiple family members who are affected by Microtia and Atresia causing us to wonder if Microtia and Atresia is hereditary.  

It is more common for Microtia and Atresia to affect the right ear and occurs more commonly in males. Microtia and Atresia can affect one or both ears and can cause asymmetry of the face (where one jaw bone pulls upright more so on one side) known as Craniofacial Microsomia. Typically, children and adults who have Microtia and Atresia have some degree of hearing loss. Children and adults who have Aural Atresia (hearing loss) can wear a hearing device called a bone conduction hearing device (also know as a Baha, BAHS, or BAI). A bone conduction hearing device can be worn on a soft band head band (because there is usually no ear for a hearing device to be worn on) or can be implanted in the skull after the age of five.

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Microtia Awareness Day Celebrations: 

With National Microtia Day, you may sign up as a volunteer with one of the many Hospitals, Clinics, or NGOs that support the cause to raise funds for research and to share resources with the general public. Take this opportunity to dig more about Microtia and share it with your family and friends to raise awareness among them!

If you had microtia or there is someone you know who has microtia, then it is the time for you to share your stories about the struggle with the disability. This helps new parents to cope better. You can also use this day to raise funds as donations to organizations can go a long way. They can be used for implants, hearing aids, and surgeries for those in need.

If you are a professional Audiologist, ENT Specialists, Plastic Surgeons, and Paediatricians, you may use this day to update your information on Microtia, as the research keeps revealing more about the condition to support patients better. You may also have dedicated sessions for parents, educators, and children to understand Microtia and the various options available to deal with it.

Most Searched FAQs on Microtia Awareness Day: 

1. When is Microtia Awareness Day celebrated? 

Microtia Awareness Day is annually celebrated on November 9th in US. 

2. What does microtia mean? 

Microtia occurs when the external ear is small and not formed properly. This may affect the child’s hearing.

3. Can you treat microtia? 

The three treatment options for microtia include leaving the ear as it is, using an artificial (prosthetic) ear and surgery to build a new ear (surgical reconstruction). An artificial ear can be made from silicone.

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