November 9th is dedicated to spreading hope and knowledge concerning a congenital birth defect, which derives its name from the Latin terms for little ears. Mark the calendar for Microtia Awareness Day for November 9th and think of the number 9 as the shape of an ear.
Approximately one child in every 9,000 is born with Microtia (when the ear(s) do not fully develop during the 1st trimester of pregnancy). Often affecting one ear or both ears, Microtia is diagnosed at birth, but there is no understanding as to why Microtia occurs. Facial challenges, hearing loss and the longing for social acceptance are some of the daily concerns for those who are born with Microtia.
For most parents, the day of their child’s birth turns from celebration to concern and uncertainty. Initially, aside from the arrival of their beautiful new baby, they notice the outward signs of the condition – a small, curiously shaped ear or no ear at all. Depending on where these families live, doctors and nurses may be well versed in the condition and quickly educate and prepare parents, reassuring them. In others regions, the condition is rare enough that misinformation or lack of information quickly evaporates any remaining sense of celebration that accompanies a birth. Often when answers aren’t forthcoming, hopes and dreams become overshadowed by unnecessary challenges to a joyous occasion. There are options and support! It is the intention of Microtia Awareness Day to help promote public awareness and the hope that future generations of families will leave the hospital armed with more answers than questions and their dreams for their child intact.
Children are born into this world not knowing they are any different from anyone else. Many with Microtia share similar stories of curious stares, bullying, or awkwardness. Individual personalities, social conditioning, available treatments and bullying all impact how every child develops and copes as an adult. By removing unnecessary boundaries and replacing them with resources, tools, and support, we can eliminate bullying and clear the way for an even more successful future.
In addition to self-acceptance and loving oneself, advancements in technology can improve the lives of those with Microtia. From hearing aids and implants to surgical procedures and bio-ears that create new outer ears, all these improvements require research. Research requires time, trials and support. Even the untapped potential of 3-D printing is promising!
Those with Microtia are an amazing community of people. Their stories repeatedly tell that with and without technology, medical procedures or innovative research, the most significant advancement of all is human support, awareness, and acceptance.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Use #MicrotiaAwarenessDay to share on social media.
The Ear Community Organization founded Microtia Awareness Day in 2016 and was submitted by the Tumblin family. Melissa Tumblin founded Ear Community in 2010 after stumbling through the hurdles and challenges of finding answers for her daughter when she was born with Microtia. Since then, Ear Community has brought over 6,500 people together from around the world at the organization’s events making it possible to share experiences and resources. The community is made up of not only children and adults with Microtia and their families, but teachers, advocates, and medical professionals from around the world who foster awareness and assistance for this amazing group of people. Board members either have the condition or a family member who does, so they have close personal experience with the obstacles from a myriad of perspectives. The Registrar at National Day Calendar approved Microtia Awareness Day in October.
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