What is "Surfer’s Ear"?
Surfers, swimmers, sailors, windsurfers, kayakers, cyclists, hikers and others who spend time around cold wind and/or water are prone to Surfer's Ear.
Surfer’s Ear or “exostosis of the external auditory canal” is a bone growth in the ear canal caused by repeated exposure to cold water and cold air.
Ears can be sensitive to being over-exposed to cold conditions and result in addition thickness of the bone inside the ear canal.
This bone growth, if allowed to continue growing, eventually obscures the drum - causing hearing impairment and possible deafness. Surfer’s Ear can also result in water being trapped behind the growing bone, which can lead to a serious infection.
The surgical treatement of Surfer's Ear is a major surgery with a significant recovery time. It’s not something you want to go through; the procedure involves the drilling/chiselling away the excess bone growth within the ear canal.
What can I do to prevent it?
Keeping your ears warm and dry is important.
Wear a warm hat that covers your ears during outdoor activities. An alternative to this is a fleece ear warmer, which is suitable for use under helmets, in Summer, or with long hair.
If something on your head doesn't suit your activity, we recommend using Doc's Proplugs. These resuable, comfortable ear plugs keep your ears dry and protected wind. They come in a range of sizes which we can fit at Ear Hygiene Clinic, and can be vented or non-vented.
How do I know if I have Surfer's Ear?
If water is starting to be trapped in your ear canal more frequently and it’s becoming harder and harder to get out, ask yourself "am I around cold water often?"
If yes, you may have early symptoms of Surfers Ear.
Don’t panic - Surfer’s Ear is very preventable. Call today to book an appointment. We can take a look inside your ear canal and determine if you have any exostosis and how best to manage this.