Question Re: Son with "Folded" Ear at Birth

Updated on May 15, 2012
S.S. asks from Oklahoma City, OK
15 answers

My son was born with one of his ears folded down on itself at birth. His "wonky" ear was quite endearing at first! Our first pediatrician said that it would probably resolve itself and unfold with time. She did not recommend doing anything to it (taping, etc.) to help it take on a more normal shape. We did put a hat on him a lot when he was a newborn, and when I nursed him I would try to hold the ear back against the side of his head. Our second pediatrician (we moved when he was 6 weeks) said that it should firm up with time, and she checked with an ENT doctor who said to wait until he was 1 year before looking into any corrective measures.

He will be 1 in 2 weeks, and the ear has not improved much at all! It has unfolded a bit, but it is still obviously different from the other ear; it sticks out more and seems "floppy", like there is not much cartilage (unlike the other ear which seems more firm like an adult ear). I am nervous that at his 1 year checkup they will refer us to the ENT and that they will ultimately recommend surgery. It seems a bit frivolous to get cosmetic surgery on an ear that works perfectly well, but I don't want him to be teased as he gets into and dad may love his "wonky" ear, but I know kids can be cruel! I don't know what insurance will pay, either...scared to find out!

Has anyone else had a child born with a similar problem? Did it resolve itself or did you need to take corrective measures? Any words of wisdom or encouragement? Thanks in advance! I love this site!!

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answers from Little Rock on

Both of my sons were born with one “wonky” ear. My oldest is two and a half and it took a little over a year for it to straighten out. I worried about it when he was a baby, folded it while he breastfed, and had many of the same concerns. It’s still just a little different than the other one, but it seems like it only gets better with the passage of time. I’m the only one that really notices (well me and one overly critical grandmother). Even if it doesn’t straighten out as soon as you would like you have plenty of time before kids his age will have the verbal capacity to make fun of him and by then it will probably be just fine.

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answers from Dothan on

I agree with the poster who said knowledge is power. Go see a plastic surgeon for a consult. Call your insurance company and discuss it with them. Get all of the facts and go from there. As for whether to fix it or not, if the surgeon says it's better to do it now, I'd do it for my children. If the surgeon says wait a while, I would.

Your baby is very young and doesn't need to worry about the reactions of other children quite yet. You never know - another year might make a big difference. However, if it still isn't unfolding by preschool/school age, I would fix it. You may love it (I would - those little special things are sweet), but will your child? Yes, kids can always find something to be cruel about, but why give them more ammunition? Would you want a "wonky" ear?

Ask the surgeon if it's easier to correct early, rather than as an adult. But see a plastic surgeon who specializes in children!!!! You may even be able to get a consult for free or little charge.



answers from New York on


My daughter who is 4 months old also has a "funny ear". Actually, her two ears keep folding over when sleeping and her right ear was begginning to seriously sticking out. I started to become so upset and obsessed with it that my husband had a look on internet to find a solution to "correct" her ears while we thought it was not too late...and he has found Baby's Bonnette: a bonnet for sticking-out ears or folded over ears. It prevents baby's ears from folding over. It is really efficient. We've been using it for two weeks and we can already notice a significant change. And I am so much more relaxed since I know that when Lisa is wearing Baby's Bonnette, her ears can't fold over anymore. I hope this message will be useful to you.


There is Baby's Bonnette which you can use to prevent your baby's ears from folding over. It has been specifically designed to solve the problem of sticking-out ears.



answers from Owensboro on

I was born with my right ear folded over at birth. But it never straightened itself out or anything. I want to have surgery on it, but I have no idea if they could fix that or how much the expenses would be. I can't unfold it or anything. And I don't know what to do!

I don't really get teased about it, but every time I put my hair up or something, someone always has to ask "What happened to your ear?" or "WHOA. Your ear is messed up." People are just so rude these days.

I would never want anyone else to go through what I go through.



answers from New York on

Oh, too funny. My son was born with his left ear folded down too, and the right one pointing up like most do. His older brother used to call him "Califlower/Spock Ears". My son was NEVER bothered by it. He loved having something like that to make him different. It didn't seem to have changed at all since he was born. Now he is 26 years old and still has it. My son was never bother by it. He had a little girl born yesterday, and both her ears are that way. I have never seen before, and now my son and his daughter both have it. It must be something hereditary. I would not get your son surgery to correct it. He will probably be proud of it. Kids can find anything to tease someone about, even if they appear perfect.



answers from New Orleans on

In your letter you said you were "scared to find out", please don't be.

Correct information is the most valuable thing we can have when tackeling any situation, difficult or otherwise, and it is almost always free! I understand that you may be scared about what's to come, but without the facts it is impossible to determine the problem or how to handle it.
In fact you, at the moment, do not know if there is anything for you to be worried about. You are only afriad the unknown and that is a fear is easily conquered.

When you search for information, at the end of the day you are always smarter than when you woke up. Even if you don't find the information you are looking for you at least know where not to find it, and the next day you will not expend energy looking where it can not be found and that is very important information to have.

Knowledge is power, imagine what a powerful mother you can be and what you can accomplish for your children when you are more powerful, then pick up the phone and get your information.
You can do it!



answers from Baton Rouge on

I PERSONALLY had my right ear only folded over and connected at birth. My parents told me the doc just cut the little piece of skin connecting it and that's it. To this day, my right ear at the top sticks out more than my left, but is hardly noticeable as an adult, no one has ever said anything about it.

However, as a child, I was teased terribly (and it's not even that bad!) but you know how kids are. I was called 'Dumbo' and 'Radar' and such. All the way until I graduated high school!!! I was very sensitive about it and begged my parents for cosmetic surgery to even it with the other ear. But, today, it doesn't bother me in the least.

but, no, in my case it never completely evened out. It seems to be more common than you'd think, they told us. It is really just a matter of physical appearance, and how you all handle it I guess. Could be worse. Good luck.



answers from Columbia on

My son is 4 months old and also has a "funny" ear! And as with you the only people it bothers is me and my mother! Not his dad or anyone else. One ear is normal and his left ear is folded and smaller. I looked back at ultrasounds and he was always laying on his left ear. When he was born doctor said it would prob. Fix itself but it hasn't at all. I expressed my concern with his pediatrition and she said when he is a little older we can get corrective surgery on it before school age.



answers from Little Rock on

My son was born with a "bump" on the edge of his ear. The pediatrician said it could just be some cartilage that got smooshed out of place & told us to massage it to see if it moved back into place. He's 3 now & it hasn't changed. When he was close to 6 months the pediatrician mentioned surgery, but we weren't so sure about that. We were already growing attached to it & even more so now. We call it his elf ear, or vulcan, ear. :) (I have a much smaller bump on the inside of my ear. Not even my mom noticed it. I discovered it on my own when I was a kid. So this is probably why he has it too.)

We decided that we would let him decide when he got older, depending on whether kids teased him or not. We plan to homeschool him so hopefully it won't be as big a problem as it would in school. So far only a few older kids at church have even mentioned it & they were only curious about what it was. Of course, they are nice kids, too. Most people, even adults, don't notice it. He is just now starting to take notice of it at all, also. We just talk it up as something special about him. We've jokingly considered teaching him to tell others that he is part elf or vulcan. :) We let his hair grow out over his ears for quite a while between haircuts, so it is covered much of the time.

Honestly, besides our adoring his elf ear, we also decided against surgery because we doubt that our insurance will cover anything "cosmetic". Insurance companies will try to get out of paying if they can find any excuse, and we definitely cannot afford to pay for it ourselves. My advice is to enjoy it & let him decide if it becomes a problem. Also, try to build his self-confidence & make him proud of his uniqueness. He may turn out to be a very confident boy who can handle whatever comes his way. Hopefully. :) And if not, then do what you can to help him. But, in his case it could resolve itself in time too.


answers from Oklahoma City on

my daughters toes the ones right before the little toes are turned under the rest of her toes and points
towards her big toes. on the left foot and right foot. we let her go barefoot and lady that was taking care of her would let her wrap her toes around a pencil and they straightened up a little but they still curve in a little and sometimes a lot and she's 2. so im sure when she get older and doenst want to wear sandels because some kid and said something hurtful about her funky toes then well have to have surgery. so far they have not correct themselves so good luck.



answers from Mobile on

My daughter just turned three. She looks as though she has two earlobes on her right ear. When she was a baby she held her ear when sleeping and I assumed she did so also in the womb, preventing it from straightening. My husband and I haven't even considered fixing it. One of my husband's ears points like a fairy. As far as kids being cruel, kids are cruel if a child has a funky ear or a funky name or whatever. Kids will pick on other kids for something, it might as well be something they can see, rather than something they make up.



answers from Birmingham on

My husband is a plastic surgeon and fixes these types of problems all the time on children. I agree with the previous post that you need to go and get as much information as possible because you son may want to get his ear fixed at some point in his life. You need to find a board certified plastic surgeon - if there is a children's hospital in your city I would go see one there. His surgery may be covered by insurance since it will be more corrective/reconstructive than cosmetic. You will be surprised that it may be covered and the doctor's staff and call your insurance and find out for you. Also, you are not being frivolous by wanting your son's ear corrected. This is a corrective surgery for him. My husband's patients are so happy after their surgery - his has little girls that have NEVER worn their hair pulled up and now they are so happy to wear pony tails etc. He has also gone to Ecuador and done lots of corrective surgery on kids there that makes a huge difference in their lives too. Anyway, you just need to go and see a plastic surgeon and get all the facts on what may or may not resolve itself and how it could be corrected and at what age it would be appropriate to have it fixed. Good luck and I promise any surgery he needs will be way harder on you than him - it would probably be a real simple and quick procedure!!


answers from Tulsa on

Has your son been on your insurance since birth? If so, they shouldn't consider this a pre-existing condition. However, depending on what the doctor recommends, they may consider this cosmetic surgery. As soon as the doctor mentions surgery, you should contact your insurance company for pre-approval. If they deny it, you can always check back later closer to the surgery date and you may get another answer. If they pre-approve the surgery, get that in writing! If you end up not having it covered by insurance, contact the hospital where you will have surgery and see if you might be able to pre-pay for a discount. Most of the times the hospital will work with you. They would rather have some money than no money. Sorry, I don't know much about the ear; insurance is my thing! Good luck!



answers from Birmingham on

My step-brother had surgery on both ears when he was little because they stuck out and everyone knew that he would receive unwanted attention because of it. His surgery went well with hardly any fussing on his part. Kids really bounce back from surgical procedures so quickly that I wouldn't hesitate since it will greatly help them for their future. Self-confidence is a HUGE part of their maturity. Our son has had several surgeries (3 sets of ear tubes and adenoids removed). All went very well and seemed to stress us the parents out much more than him. His pain level on all seemed very minimal and we just got some extra good snuggle time.



answers from Fort Smith on

Our second daughter was born with ears that stick out (she got that from my MIL). My pediatrician said that the cartilege is not completley formed until one or two years??? (It's been 7 years so I don't remember exactly how long too clearly). I tried taping them back to train them. I don't really think it made much, if any, difference. For a girl, hair helps cover them somewhat, but if they bother her when she gets older, then we'll check into having them "pinned". Some children are embarrassed by what makes them unique and others embrace it as part of what makes them special. If you do not want to do surgery at this point, maybe start a little savings account and stash money when you can. If the ears bother him, then he can use that money to fix them, if they don't bother him, he (or you) can use it for something else.

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