What is Surfer’s Ear?
Just about every surfer has shared stories about the injuries they got while surfing gnarly waves. It may have been a head bunt with their board, a hand cut on a fin, or even a dislocated joint from a huge wave. While these are rare injuries, they do help paint a more interesting narrative.
Surfer’s Ear: How it happens and who can get it
This blog has frequently discussed swimmer's ear, but there’s a syndrome of surfing that is more prevalent, yet rarely acknowledged. It could actually be more dangerous. This syndrome is known as surfer’s ear (exostosis). Surfer’s ear occurs when the ear(s) become(s) irritated from cold water. This normally happens as a result of long exposure to cold water. Surfers, old and young, can experience it.
What happens is, over time, the ear canal becomes irritated and as a result bone will start to grow in that area. This causes the canal to become more and more narrow, which leads to hearing loss.
Ultimately, the bone growth becomes very obvious because a person with this problem can experience complete hearing loss. The only treatment for this issue is cutting off or shaving the bone growth. This procedure would need a recovery period of six to eight weeks.
Surfer’s ear doesn’t just lead to hearing loss, but the bone growths will trap water which leads to frequent infections. This leads to high risks for people who spend a lot of time in the water to surf. Wetsuits are providing surfers with the opportunity to go into the water almost year round, raising the risks for surfers of all ages.
About one in three surfers experience this problem, and if left untreated it can lead to pain and severe hearing loss.
Are there Treatments for Surfer’s Ear?
The only real cure for surfer’s ear is surgery. It’s best to take preventative measures, like wearing earplugs, prior to going into the water. You can also try these Swedish company's earplugs
that are specially designed for surfers. Sound waves can be heard, while the real waves stay out.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss, for any reason, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
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