Thanks to a UK doctor, parents can help their babies avoid future ear surgery with a medical device used at home. Would you use it on your little one?
At-home medical device
From the benefits to the risks, find out whether Ear Buddies are right for your baby born with bat ears, rim kinks, ear clefts and more.
Ear reshaping device for babies
Approximately five percent of newborns are born with misshaped ears, while another two percent of babies are born with normal ears at birth, but develop protruding ears around 3 months of age. And, while you love your baby from head to toe, avoiding potential future teasing and bullying from peers is possible without surgery with the Ear Buddies ear reshaping device. Developed by British plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. David Gault, Ear Buddies help parents reshape their baby's ears using splints and tape instead of cosmetic surgery.
Surgery-free alternative to reshape baby's ears
Some baby's ears are compressed and folded during birth, but when your bundle of joy's ears remain misshaped or protruding more than 48 hours after delivery, your newborn may benefit from Ear Buddies. The ear reshaping devices helps restore the natural curve of your baby's ears by reforming the cartilage folds and holding ears close to the side of your baby's head during the period when the framework of the ears is still soft. This early intervention not only corrects common concerns you may have with your baby's ears, it also helps you breathe a sigh of relief that your youngster can avoid surgical correction in the future.
"I found out about Ear Buddies when my daughter was about 5 months old. She was born with perfectly normal ears and this only began to change after three months," shares Julie Batten. "I was becoming very concerned about how this was going to affect her as she grew older. I cannot be happier with the result that we have achieved and I am keeping the splints on [my daughter] for a bit longer to be sure of the result."
Risks of using ear reshaping device
According to Ear Buddies, here are five signs your baby will grow up with protruding or misshaped ears:
- 48 hours after birth the ear is still an odd shape
- The ear appeared normal at birth but two months later it is protruding from the side of the head
- The top of the baby's ear has an uneven or caved in appearance that is not smoothing out
- Your doctor tells you that the ear suffered compression at birth, but it is not correcting itself
- Your doctor or friends are telling you to simply tape the baby's ear to its head and all will be well
While there is no extreme health risks to using Ear Buddies to reshape your baby's ears, minor concerns, such as tape sticking to your little one's hair or skin irritation due to moisture or prolonged contact, should be noted. In addition, the older your baby is when using this medical device, the longer they need to wear them and the more likely they are to have developed the coordination to pull at them with their hands.
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While the Ear Buddies are best for newborns, children as old as 2 years may benefit from ear reshaping. "The younger the baby, the shorter the amount of time needed to correct the problem," advises Dr. Gault. "Older babies may need a couple of extra months using Ear Buddies, but if they are breast fed the cartilage stays softer for longer so it can accept the new shape and, when the mother stops breast feeding, the cartilage hardens enough (like a jelly) to remember it permanently." Beyond the United Kingdom, Ear Buddies are currently in use stateside at the U.S. Naval Hospital in San Diego and the Mayo Clinic, so talk to your pediatrician about the best way to reshape your baby's ears.