Ear deformities in adults are typically treated surgically with otoplasty to reshape the ear. However, these malformations can be remedied as early as six weeks old with a method that does not require surgical intervention: ear molding.

What ear deformities are prevalent in infants?

Common ear deformities in children and newborns include:

Pediatric ear deformity that can be corrected with neonatal ear molding

Stahl’s ear

This ear condition is due to an extra horizontal cartilage fold forming in the ear that leads to a pointed shape.

Ear lidding

This congenital ear deformity features the upper ear folding over with varying degrees of severity.

Conchal crus

This ear malformation has an abnormal cartilage fold crossing over the center of the middle part of the outer ear (conchal bowl).

Protruding ear

The most common ear deformity in infants, protruding ear happens when the helix of the ear sticks out farther than two centimeters from the side of the head.


Patients with cryptotia have the upper earl cartilage hidden underneath the skin on the head.

What are risk factors for pediatric ear deformities?

It is suggested that ear deformities are caused when the fetus is positioned in the womb in a way that restricts blood flow to the ear, especially at a stage in development where the ears are still pliable. In addition, some exposure to drugs like isotretinoin, thalidomide, and alcohol have been connected to these conditions.

How do ear deformities affect children?

Depending on the position of the fold or malformation, some children may experienced diminished hearing as they get older. In addition, some children may be susceptible to emotional distress brought on by bullying if the condition is not resolved.

What is ear molding?

As an alternative to surgical treatment, ear molding is a non-invasive technique used to reshape the ear during infancy. The two ear molding devices used at CEENTA are:

  • EarWell™: A combination of splints, bowls, and lids
  • Ear Buddies™: A combination of splints and wide tape strip

How is ear molding performed?

Prior to the treatment, the ear is cleaned and sterilized to ensure limited bacterial and viral exposure. The devices are then placed around the infant’s ear and left on for durations of at least two weeks. Your physician may require routine checkups to evaluate progress.

Depending on the age of your child, the devices may be used for as little as two weeks or as long as six months.

Which patients would be ideal for ear molding?

Ear molding is best suited for pediatric patients who are newborn (approximately two weeks old) up to three months old. This is due to the flexible nature of the ears at this age, and it is suggested to begin treatment at an early age before the cartilage begins to firm.

Neonatal ear molding treatment at CEENTA

CEENTA is one of the first practices in the Charlotte metropolitan area to use neonatal ear molding as an alternative treatment method for pediatric ear deformities. Facial plastic specialist Susan Yanik, MD, MPH, provides this service at our Concord and Mooresville office. If you are interested in an ear molding consultation with Dr. Yanik, schedule an appointment online by clicking below, searching her name, and typing “Ear molding” into the type box.

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