Microtia Awareness Day is observed on November 9 every year to spread knowledge about this congenital disability. Microtia derives its name from the Latin word that means ‘little ears’. 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 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.
History of Microtia Awareness Day
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.
For many parents, the day of their child’s birth can turn into a cause for worry and concern. The lack of information and resources about the disease results in panic and the inability to seek proper care for their children. But how does one figure out that their child has microtia? The disability has physical manifestations, which can be easily detected by anyone. Parents tend to notice the outward signs of the condition — a small, weirdly shaped ear, or sometimes no ear at all. Depending on where these families live and the kind of treatment they can afford, doctors and nurses will be able to quickly confirm if the condition is present. They educate and prepare parents, and help the child to cope with their hearing impairment. Conversely, misinformation or a lack of information disheartens the parents and they worry about their child’s well-being. The first and most important stage is for parents to seek correct information regarding microtia. Correct and timely information can significantly help a child who is affected. Microtia Awareness Day promotes public awareness. The day also builds the hope that future generations of families will have access to adequate information from hospitals. The day also raises funds for hearing aids, implants, and surgical procedures for the patients.
Microtia Awareness Day timeline
Plains Indians develop a sign language to communicate between tribes of different languages.
Ludwig van Beethoven, who suffers from hearing impairments later on in life, is born in December.
The first permanent school for deaf children in America is established in Connecticut.
The Deaflympic Games are held for deaf athletes for the first time in Paris, France.
Microtia Awareness Day FAQs
Can babies who have microtia hear?
Most children with microtia do have hearing loss in the affected ear because, often, there is no canal to transmit sound waves to the inner ear. This is called aural atresia.
What does microtia mean?
Microtia occurs when the external ear is small and not formed properly. This may affect the child’s hearing.
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.
How to Observe Microtia Awareness Day
Share your story
If you or someone you know has microtia, share your stories about the struggle with the disability. This helps new parents to cope better.
Donations to organizations can go a long way. They can be used for implants, hearing aids, and surgeries for those in need.
Raise awareness on the issue
Read up more about microtia, share resources and information, and post about it on your social media. People who are better informed make the right choices when it comes to seeking treatment.
5 Facts About The Ear That Will Blow Your Mind
Our ears affect our balance
The vestibular system is located in the inner ear and is responsible for maintaining equilibrium.
Our ears never rest
Our ears are hearing even when we’re asleep
The smallest bone is in the ear
The stapes, or the ‘stirrup’ bone, is the smallest in the body.
Wax is a natural protective agent
Ear wax protects the middle ear against dust, dirt, and bacterial or fungal infections.
Our left ear hears music better
Research shows that the left ear is more receptive to continuous tones and musical sounds.
Why Microtia Awareness Day is Important
It builds community
Any situation can be handled better with proper community support. Microtia Awareness Day helps build communities of children and adults, families, and advocates who are united in the cause.
Awareness is raised
The most important goal of Microtia Awareness Day is to raise awareness about this congenital disability. The more aware people are, the better medical intervention they can seek.
It promotes inclusivity
Those with microtia may be subjected to curious stares, bullying, or awkwardness. Microtia Awareness Day hopes to create a world that is accepting of those with the disability.
Microtia Awareness Day dates