Research Article| Volume 60, ISSUE 9, P1007-1012, September 2007

Pinnaplasty: reshaping ears to improve hearing aid retention

Published:April 28, 2007DOI:


      The hearing aid is extremely important to the deaf. A small number have difficulty in retaining the device because the ear is prominent or cup-shaped. This report describes 11 children whose ear shape was modified to improve hearing aid retention and one adult in whom an over set back ear was released to allow fitment of a postaural device. In eight of the 11 children treated, conservative measures such as double-sided tape and retention bands (Huggies™) had been tried previously without success.
      The creation of an antihelical fold in a misshapen ear lacking such a fold provides a reinforcing strut which is useful to support a hearing aid. In patients whose ear had been excessively tethered by previous surgery, projection was restored by inserting a cartilage block behind the ear. In one child with ears tethered by previous surgery, costal cartilage was used not only to release both ears, but also to reconstruct a new helical rim on one side. Surgery enabled a normal postaural hearing aid to be worn in 17 of the 19 ears treated. The two failures deserve special mention. In one patient with a unilateral deformity and severe mental retardation, the dressings were pulled off immediately after surgery. In another patient with a bilateral problem, the appearance and hearing aid retention was improved, but there was not enough room in the postauricular sulcus on one side for the battery component to fit comfortably and an in-the-ear device is now used on that side. Pinnaplasty is a helpful strategy to improve hearing aid retention. Care must be taken not to overdo the set back so that enough room is left to retain the hearing device.


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