EarWell® Infant Ear Correction Device is a type of ear mold which is applied by a physician and is customized to treat various different deformities. Various retractors are used to gently bend the cartilage into the correct position and hold it in place until the cartilage hardens. The entire prosthesis is made out of soft silicone and has a medical grade adhesive which attaches it to the scalp.
EarWell® can correct most ear deformities and we use it at times in our practice. However, there are two times when we will use a more customized mold that is made from a soft silicone polymer:
- For larger babies or for cases where we don’t start in the first month after birth, the EarWell® doesn’t always fit since it is a set size and can’t accommodate a larger ear.
- Lidding deformities are difficult to treat with EarWell® since these deformities need the upper part of the ear to be pulled up significantly. These are better treated with a more customized mold (soft silicone polymer) that can give more space to pull the top part of the ear upwards.
Custom Ear Molding with EarWell® vs EarBuddies™ Ear Splints
Custom ear molding is the most successful way to correct multiple different ear deformities. This is best done by an expert who performs this on a regular basis. Parents will sometimes ask about EarBuddies™ which can be found online for reshaping baby ears. However, parents often don’t know what the ideal shape of the ear is supposed to be. EarBuddies™ have to be applied by the parents who also have to monitor for any excessive pressure which can cause ulceration or infection. They are nervous that they are shaping it in the wrong way with EarBuddies™.
By contrast, custom molding with EarWell® has a very high success rate of over 90% with complete correction when started early enough. Parents don’t have to do anything or worry about misplacement. The procedure is covered by most insurances as an ear deformity is considered a congenital deformity. Ear molding is pain-free and doesn’t affect baby hearing or sleeping.
Custom Ear Molding with EarWell® vs OtoStick
OtoStick is a silicone prosthesis that is taped to the back of the ear and the scalp to hold the ear back in both children and adults. However, it must be used continuously since it doesn’t mold the cartilage – it just tapes it back to the scalp. It is only recommended for children over 3 years old to decrease the incidence of a baby choking on it if it falls off while unobserved.
OtoStick is therefore completely different from custom ear molding with EarWell®. EarWell® permanently molds infant ear cartilage in a period of 2-6 weeks and then can be removed.