With advancements in wetsuit technology, our bodies are capable of being out on the water in harsher, more cold and wet conditions; however, whereas our body is now equipped to handle the cold of the water, our poor ears have been left… to grow bone? Surfer’s ear, named because of its prevalence in surfers, is caused when ears are exposed to cold water and wind and subsequently, the ear begins to grow bone in the canal. If you’ve been surfing for some time, or you take part in a lot of water sports, keep reading to learn more about surfer’s ear and what can be done if you already have it and what to do to prevent it!
What Are Symptoms Of Surfer’s Ear
As surfer’s ear causes bone growth, called exostosis, the ear canal becomes blocked. This can lead to a host of symptoms the most common of which are: feeling like the ear is plugged, feeling an itchy sensation within the ear, and frequent water-logged ears as it is more difficult to get water out the ear due to physical obstruction caused by the bone growths. The biggest indicator of surfer’s ear is recurrent ear infections. Because of the difficulty of drying out the ears, bacteria can grow and lead to infections in moist conditions. In advanced surfer’s ear, tinnitus, or ear ringing, has been reported and, if the bone growths become significant enough, there can be large hearing loss.
What Can Be Done For Surfer’s Ear?
Surgery. But don’t worry, when you’re under the care of a professional such as Dr. Daneshrad, the process of removing the bone growths is well-attended to. There is marked improvement in hearing and infection rates after having the bone growths shaved down. However, surgery does not prevent re-growth due to the same conditions of cold air and water that caused the exostosis in the first place.
How To Prevent Surfer’s Ears
Be wary of extensively cold water, especially because decreasing water temps exponentially increase the risk of developing surfer’s ear. Along with being mindful of the temperature of the body of water you will be in, you can also use high-quality silicone earplugs or any other covering such as wetsuit hoods or special headbands that block and seal the ears.
Have More Questions About Surfer’s Ear?
If you have more questions about surfer’s ear or it’s been some time since you last checked your ears, consider making a consultation with Dr. Daneshrad! Give us a call at 310-453-6500!