How (and why) I fixed my baby’s sticky-out ears
Just like his Dad, as The Boy got older we found that his ears started to stick out. A lot.
Whilst The Boy’s Dad is obviously a complete hottie I started to worry about what sticky-out ears would mean for The Boy. Would he get bullied? Would he look silly? Would he even notice?
I also began to notice that his ears were getting worse. So what to do? To google I went!
Doing the research
An estimated 6 to 45 percent of children are born with some sort of congenital ear deformity. This includes “protruding ears” as well as a variety of ear deformities. It is not an uncommon problem! Moreover, research shows that for some children protruding ears can lead to a reduced quality of life, reduced self-esteem, social avoidance behaviour and poor performance in school.
I cant lie – I found it really upsetting imagining anyone bullying my precious boy. I started to look into what we could do to help “fix” his ears.
I was particularly interested in ear moulding. A friend in the US was horrified when his 4 day old daughter was offered ear moulding as a cosmetic procedure as part of the standard newborn process. I could see that for babies like The Boy however that it could be a great solution.
Ear moulding or splitting involves essentially taping ears into the desired shape while the cartilage in your child’s ears is soft enough to mould. It’s painless for the child and relatively low cost. The only issue is that it needs to be started as early as possible.
Making the decision
Choosing a cosmetic procedure wasn’t an easy decision to make. I worried a lot that it was vain or silly to invest in something as minor as ear corrections. It sounds silly now but I also worried that people would take it that I didn’t love my son as he is.
Ultimately though, we decided to go forward with the procedure. The Earbuddies system is non-invasive and painless and could prevent the need in the future for Otoplasty/ Pinnaplasty which requires a General Anaesthetic.
Earbuddies offers two options – a DIY option or a Doctor Consultation. We went with the Doctor-led option for two reasons. Firstly, because I wanted an objective opinion if The Boy’s ears did stick out and secondly in order to get a proper fit for the splints.
In London I was lucky enough to have my appointment with Mr David Gault who invented the Earbuddies system. The appointment was held at the Portland Hospital when The Boy was about 8 weeks old.
The entire appointment took around 10 minutes. I cant lie – for £410 (including the earbuddies materials at £59.00) I was a bit disappointed.
The doctor measured The Boy’s ears to assess how much they stuck out and answered my questions about the procedure.
I was interested to learn that the procedure takes as long as your baby has been alive – so at 8 weeks we needed to tape for 8 weeks. If we had started as young as 2 weeks, we would have only needed it done for 2 weeks.
We then started the fitting. We noticed The Boy had one ear worse than the other caused partially by folding over when breastfeeding so decided to do that one first and then to tape back the other one. We therefore only had one ear fitted – the second I had to do myself at home.
The earbuddies system involves a small silicon splint to protect the outside of the ear which is taped on to the ear before the whole ear is taped back. It is really well explained in the picture below from www.earbuddies.co.uk
To fit the earbuddies is very simple and there are great tutorials on the earbuddies website. If your baby has a lot of hair you will need to shave it, but we did not find it a problem for The Boy.
Life with earbuddies
Life with ear buddies was fine, if a little fiddly at times.
We changed the ear splinting once a week on average in order to clean behind the ears and make sure the bandages stayed in place. We would take them off in order to bathe and wash The Boy’s hair and would leave them off over night in order to let the skin breathe.
Luckily we did not have any issues with redness or skin irritation however we were very careful not to get them wet – we would bathe The Boy wearing a hat underneath a shower cap and would change them at any sign of moisture.
We also invested in the Cavilon barrier cream that was recommended as well as the Appeal removal spray so that it didn’t hurt taking the tape off.
I also found the splinting easier and easier as time went on. I always followed the method shown on the website and used my husband or nanny as a disctraction while I did it.
I would say that the ear bandaging is quite obvious and people will comment. I had a lot of questions and did become quite self-concious of the splinting.
Nearly 10 months after we last splinted The Boy’s ears I am SO happy with the results. His ears are totally symmetrical and don’t really stick out much at all. I am really happy with the results and although once we had paid for additional tape and creams etc. the procedure cost me around £500 I would totally do it again.
My advice for anyone who is worried about their kid’s ears would be to do it but if you can, do it earlier than we did. I would also not bother with the professional fitting – this is something you can 100% do yourself at home.
Have you considered cosmetic procedures for yourself or your child? Or maybe used the ear buddies yourself? I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences