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Congenital Artresia

What is Congenital Artresia?

Congenital Artresia is the absence of the external ear canal. The absense of an external ear canal is a birth defect which is almost always accompanied by abnormalities of both the middle ear bones in various degrees, as well as the external ear.

When a newborn has no external ears, the pediatrician must readily refer the child to both a facial plastic surgeon and an ear surgeon, as well as an audiologic team.

The absence of the external ear canal, and abnormal growth of the external ear, often occur together. However, absence of the external ear canal can occur without abnormal growth of the external ear.

Hearing Loss

A person who does not have an external ear canal or an external ear will experience some degree of hearing loss. The degree of hearing loss brought about by the must be evaluated immediately. If both ears are affected, early hearing aid fitting is called for. If a hearing aid is not used, the child will experience speech problems.

Using a bone type of hearing aid which bypasses the obstruction, vibration on the bone allows for normal development of speech in the child.

Treatment Options

Surgery to reconstruct the ear usually is the most common treatment. Surgery can take place as early as 4 or 5 years of age. A facial plastic surgeon and an ear surgeon work together, repairing the absent external ear first and then the external ear canal. Surgery is performed in a hospital under general anesthesia.


The birth of a child with an external ear deformity requires early counseling and intervention by the pediatrician who should refer to a team of facial plastic and ear surgeons.

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