Please Help 5 Year Old Vanya. He has hearing loss on both sides. He needs surgery to help him hear normally.

California Ear Institute, Palo Alto, CA

  • $1.00

When Vanya was born, he had no left ear. And, as it became clear later, he not only has no ear, but no ear canal or eardrum either. His right ear was underdeveloped: the auditory canal is narrowed, the eardrum is very small. My son could hardly hear at all. After we were discharged from the maternity hospital, Vanya was thoroughly examined. He was diagnosed with "conductive hearing loss." My son does not perceive sound as ordinary people do through the ear canal, but he can distinguish sounds through the bones of his skull.

At three months of age, we were able to consult an otosurgeon. He recommended that Vanya wear hearing aids on a band, which vibrate and transmit sound through the skull directly to the auditory nerve. The doctor warned us: as he grows older, the bones of the skull would thicken and stop transmiting sound. Vanya will then need a serious operation – the implantation of a bone vibrator. But our doctors found there were contraindications for Vanya to have that type of surgery. Doctors did not offer another recommendation. From the age of five months, my son wears hearing aids, but still doesn’t hear well. Because of this, even at five years of age, he does not speak well, and doesn’t perceive the speech of strangers.

In April of this year, I was lucky enough to get to a medical conference dedicated to our disease. At the conference, there were doctors from the California Ear Institute (California, USA), which has a long and successful record of surgically improving conductive hearing loss in children. The American doctors examined Vanya and came to the conclusion that he will be able to hear! They explained that on the left side, where there is no ear, they will have to create an auditory canal and eardrum, and on the right side, it will be necessary to divide the auditory bones with a laser. These operations are not performed in Russia, but in America they are ready to accept us. The invoice is for $113,300. We don’t have that kind of money. My husband repairs cars, I'm an accountant. Please help us.

Rimma Krivtsova, Moscow region.

California Ear Institute Otolaryngologist Joseph Roberson, MD (Palo Alto, California, USA): "Ivan was born with the absence of the pinna, with atresia of the left auditory canal, and a partially imperforate ear canal on the right. After reviewing the results of the CT scan and examining the boy in Moscow, we came to the conclusion that Vanya’s hearing can be restored and recreate the left ear through a two-stage surgery. First, using a laser, we will expand the auditory canal and the eardrum, and divide the auditory ossicles of the right ear. He should recover hearing on this side. On the left, we have to completely reconstruct the ear canal and the eardrum, and do an implant in the ear. The boy will be able to hear, and thus be able to live the life of a healthy child."

Vanya’s treatment will cost $113,000. We are happy to report that the Rusfond children's charity in Moscow has raised the entire amount needed. However, an additional $9,750 is required for him and his mother's flights, accommodations, food, local transportation, and other associated expenses for the duration of their stay in the USA. If you want to help Vanya please don't let the cost stop you. Your donation in any amount will be gratefully accepted. You can contribute to Russian American Children's Foundation using a Credit Card, PayPal, or by sending a check made payable to:

Russian American Children's Foundation 
420 Lexington Avenue, Suite 300 
New York, NY 10170 

Thank you! All donations in excess of what is needed for Vanya will help other children in need of ear surgery.

All the funds necessary for Vanya's ear surgery have been raised. For an update on Vanya please click here.