Hearing management

Updated 07 December 2017

Worcester girl gets new ears

Cassidy Sitella, a Grade 3 pupil from Nuwe Hoop Sentrum in Worcester was born without ears. However her life has now changed after she underwent reconstructive surgery.


Cassidy Sitella, a Grade 3 pupil from Nuwe Hoop Sentrum in Worcester was born without ears. This is a rare congenital deformity called microcia and is where the external ears are underdeveloped or non-existent.

However her life has now changed after she underwent reconstructive surgery at Tygerberg Hospital to reconstruct her ears and Cassidy now no longer has to depend on a hearing aid to assist her poor hearing.

The surgery was performed as part of Smile Foundation’s Vodacom Smile Week.

Plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr Alexander Zuhlke operated on Cassidy and said that while her new ears would have no effect on her hearing ability, they would certainly have an impact on her self-esteem.  

He explained that the procedure of making the ear involved opening a pocket under Cassidy’s skin and then taking cartilage was taken from her ribs which was then carved into an ear framework and placed into the pocket under the skin. They then placed a tube underneath to suck the skin into the cartilage to form an ear.

A second-stage operation is planned to complete the ear.

Source: Cape Argus, IOL

(November 2012)


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Hearing Expert

Dr Kara Hoffman graduated from UCT in 2004, thereafter she completed her year of community service in Durban. In 2010 she completed her Masters Degree in Paediatric Aural Rehabilitation from UKZN. In 2016, she became a Doctor of Audiology through the University of Arizona (ATSU). Dr Hoffman and her partner Lauren Thompson opened a fully diagnostic audiology practice called Thompson & Hoffman Audiology Inc. In 2011 with world-class technology and equipment to be able to offer the broad public all hearing-related services including hearing testing for adults and babies, vestibular (balance) assessments and rehabilitation, industrial audiology, hearing devices, central auditory processing assessments for school-aged children, school screening, neonatal hearing screening programmes at Alberlito and Parklands Hospital, cochlear implants and other implantable devices, medicolegal assessments and advanced electroacoustic assessments of hearing. Thompson and Hoffman Audiology Inc. are based at Alberlito Hospital in Ballito, St Augustines Hospital in Durban and at 345 Essenwood Road, Musgrave. The practices are all wheelchair friendly. There are three audiologists that practice from Thompson & Hoffman – including Dr Kara Hoffman, Lauren Thompson & Minette Lister. The practice boasts professional, highly qualified, and extensive diagnostic services where all your hearing healthcare needs can be met. The additional licensing in vestibular assessment and rehabilitation, paediatric rehabilitation and cochlear implantation places this practice in one of the top specialist audiological positions in South Africa, with a wealth of experience in all clinical areas of audiology and is a very well respected and sought-after practice.

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