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Exploring the experiences of adults with microtia: A qualitative study

Hamlet, Claire; Harcourt, Diana

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Objective: Microtia is a medically complex condition, with the option of surgery to address hearing and reconstruct the ear. The current study explored adults’ experiences of microtia, with a particular focus on the psychosocial impact and experiences of ear reconstruction. The ultimate aim was to identify areas for support and future research that could improve patient care. Design: Fifteen adults (12 females) aged between 20 and 62 years took part in semi-structured interviews. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using inductive thematic analysis. Results: Three main themes were identified in the data: microtia as an invisible difference, surgery as a welcome opportunity, and living well with microtia. Participants had incorporated microtia into their self-concept and did not report a lasting negative impact on their lives. However, some psychosocial challenges were reported, including anxiety about showing their ears (even after reconstruction), disclosing their diagnosis to romantic partners, surgical decision-making, and feeling unsupported in the work environment. Conclusion: Individuals with microtia may benefit from psychosocial interventions to increase confidence, access to support for treatment decision-making, and guidance around disclosing microtia to employers.


Hamlet, C., & Harcourt, D. (2020). Exploring the experiences of adults with microtia: A qualitative study. Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal, 57(10), 1230-1237.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 22, 2020
Online Publication Date Jul 9, 2020
Publication Date Oct 1, 2020
Deposit Date Nov 9, 2020
Publicly Available Date Nov 11, 2020
Journal The Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal
Print ISSN 1055-6656
Electronic ISSN 1545-1569
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 57
Issue 10
Pages 1230-1237
Keywords microtia, hemifacial microsomia, ear reconstruction, psychosocial, quality of life, support
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