Girl born without ears overcoming the odds

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. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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