To present our experience with ear splint therapy for babies with ear deformities, and thereby demonstrate that this therapy is an effective and safe intervention without significant complications.
This was a retrospective study of 54 babies (35 boys and 19 girls; 80 ears; age ≤3 months) with ear deformities who had received ear splint therapy at the Center for Torticollis, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Ajou University Hospital between December 2014 and February 2016. Before the initiation of ear splint therapy, ear deformities were classified with reference to the standard terminology. We compared the severity of ear deformity before and after ear splint therapy by using the physician's ratings. We also compared the physician's ratings and the caregiver's ratings on completion of ear splint therapy.
Among these 54 babies, 41 children (58 ears, 72.5%) completed the ear splint therapy. The mean age at initiation of therapy was 52.91±18.26 days and the treatment duration was 44.27±32.06 days. Satyr ear, forward-facing ear lobe, Darwinian notch, overfolded ear, and cupped ear were the five most common ear deformities. At the completion of therapy, the final physician's ratings of ear deformities were significantly improved compared to the initial ratings (8.28±1.44 vs. 2.51±0.92; p<0.001). There was no significant difference between the physician's ratings and the caregiver's ratings at the completion of ear splint therapy (8.28±1.44 vs. 8.0±1.61; p=0.297).
We demonstrated that ear splint therapy significantly improved ear deformities in babies, as measured by quantitative rating scales. Ear splint therapy is an effective and safe intervention for babies with ear deformities.