Girl born without ears overcoming the odds

Mackenzie Brainard suffers from a condition called anotia, which means she has no outer ears or ear canals. (NBC News)

STEWARTVILLE, MN (KTTC) – A Minnesota toddler born with missing outer ears, a heart defect, and an underdeveloped jaw is overcoming the odds.

Mackenzie Brainard suffers from a condition called anotia, which means she has no outer ears or ear canals. However, her inner ears still function — allowing her to somewhat hear very loud sounds.

“It’s like putting ear plugs in and putting earmuffs on,” said her dad, Mike.

Mackenzie was also born with holes in her heart, which affected her energy.

“She would get tired when she was eating, and fall asleep before she’d eat much more than an ounce,” said her mom, Becky. As a result, Mackenzie was fed through a tube.

But to improve her hearing, other options had to be considered. After some research, Mike and Becky chose the Cochlear Baha System, a hearing aid with an elastic band worn around the head. Mackenzie received the device when she was 10 months old.

Since then, Mackenzie has shown great progress.

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