March 13-15, 2016 • San Diego, CA


  |   -   |  7 - Family Perspectives and Support

Microtia and Atresia: A parent perspective on the latest options for surgery, hearing loss, and advocacy

In 2012, approximately 500 babies (1 out of every 8,000 births) were born with congenital Microtia and Atresia in the United States alone. Many of these children were not offered the option to wear a bone conduction hearing device that would help improve hearing loss during the critical years of development. Not all of then were guided toward helpful early intervention service programs for speech and communication delays either. In fact, many families of Microtia and Atresia children today are still not informed of the latest options that could potentially help provide a better quality of life for their children. This discussion will uncover the struggles and lessons that one parent has learned while advocating for her child who was born with unilateral Microtia and Atresia. This discussion will provide updates on the latest information regarding Microtia and Atesia including regional statistics. Unilateral hearing loss will be reviewed regarding the importance of how much a bone conduction hearing device (BAHS/Baha) could help a child benefit if being given the chance to be aided (cited references). The latest reconstructive surgical options will be discussed including prosthetic options to 3D printing/stem cell research. The psychological aspects and behavioral challenges for individuals with Microtia and Atresia will be discussed along with helpful tips for helping keep a bone conduction hearing device on a younger child and the benefits of using an FM system in the classroom.

  • Explain the challenges families experience when having a child born with Microtia and Atresia.
  • Discuss the latest options for individuals born with Microtia and Atresia.
  • Discuss how a child with a unilateral hearing loss can benefit from a BAHS/Baha and FM system especially during the critical years of development.

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Melissa Tumblin (Primary Presenter,Author,POC), Ear Community, EarCommunity@gmail.com;
Melissa Tumblin is a mother of a child who was born with Microtia and Atresia of her right ear. She is the Founder of Ear Community, a nonprofit organization that promotes educational and public awareness about Microtia and Atresia and hearing loss. She is also the founder of the Microtia and Atresia Support Group on Facebook. She is a past board member for the Hands & Voices Organization and a past family advisory council member for Children's Hospital Colorado (Bill Daniels Center for Children's Hearing). She has presented accredited courses for AudiologyOnline and the EAA as well as speaking at microtia surgical conferences and hearing device meetings. Melissa has over 15 years of medical device marketing experience marketing electrosurgical devices and laparoscopic instruments. Melissa earned her Bachelors degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder where she studied Biology/Psychology geared toward premed.


Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.