What is Surfer's Ear?
Surfer’s ear is excess bone that forms as bumps in the ear canal. The reason is exposure to cold water and wind, particularly when the wind generates a chill factor when your ears are wet. Exostosis, or excess bone growth, is thought to be the body’s defense mechanism to protect the ear drum.
The difficulty is that the exostosis does not go away; rather, it continues to expand. We are frequently exposed to windy and rainy weather as surfers, which is why this ailment is common among surfers. As a result, the name “surfer’s ear” was coined. With lower temperatures and more frequent exposure, the rate of bone formation will accelerate.
We are frequently exposed to windy and damp situations as surfers. So, most surfers with surfer’s ear have a different ear, at least inside the ear canal. Even while it usually affects cold water surfers, wind can also affect warm water surfers.
Surfer’s ear differs from swimmer’s ear. Swimmer’s ear is caused by a bacterial infection induced by water trapped in the ear canal.
Symptoms of Sufer's Ear
Those who have a surfer’s ear may experience the sensation that their ear is plugged. Inside the ear, it might be irritating. As the ear canal narrows due to bone growth, getting water out of your ear may become more difficult after swimming or surfing.
Recurrent ear infections are one of the warning signs. Because water can become trapped in the ear and less air can enter to dry things out, the risk of infection increases. These diseases are caused by bacteria in the water or other debris.
Hearing deteriorates as the bone moves deeper into the ear canal. If the blockage reaches 90% or more, you will experience considerable hearing loss.
How to Prevent Sufer's Ear?
The most obvious approach of prevention is to avoid surfing or participating in other watersports at water temperatures below 68° F. Anything colder than 68° F (20° C) promotes bone development. Surfers are 2.6 times more likely to have severe exostoses in their ear canal when the temperature is 60° F.
If that isn’t feasible and you still want to participate in the watersport, the best preventative strategy is to use high-quality silicone earplugs while in the water. Wearing a wetsuit hood or a specific headband that covers and seals the ears is another means of prevention.
Stopping surfing is not the solution.
So the only way to avoid this is to use correct surfing equipment and to develop a new habit after surfing.
Wear an earplug. Surf Ear, which is specifically designed for surfers, can be purchased to avoid surfer’s ear. It comes at a cost, but it is well worth it. Blutack is a cheaper alternative to Surf Ear, but the problem is that you can’t hear while surfing. Make use of a wetsuit hood. This is more advanced and may appear “ugly.” But it is necessary for your wellness!After surfing, use ear drops to help dry off the water inside the ear canal.
However, be cautious of the amount you apply because it can cause your skin to become dry. After a surf session, blow dry your hair. Use it lightly around your ear to help dry the wetness or you could just shake your head up and down vertically.
Surfer's Ear Treatment
Surgery is the only way to treat the bony growths on the surfer’s ear. Doctors will chisel or drill off the bony growths if the exostosis gets severe. Doctors usually access the ear canal with very little chisels. If the growths are close to the eardrum, a drill will be utilized to reduce the risk of eardrum damage, which is more common when chisels are employed.
Another alternative is to enter by an incision behind the ear. This also reduces the possibility of eardrum injury.
Is Surfer’s Ear Hurting?
There are usually no early indications of surfer’s ear as it develops. There is no pain. Ear infections will become more common as the bone growths get larger and block more of the ear canal. These can be excruciatingly uncomfortable. Exostosis, on the other hand, is not painful.
What are the Risk if I dont treat my Surfer's Ear?
Exostosis is not something that should be ignored. The bony growths will continue to expand in size. This will cause hearing loss and make it increasingly difficult to rid your ear of water and ear wax. This is a surefire way to have chronic ear infections and agony.
Doctors can effectively remove the bony growths and entirely restore your ear canal during these simple operations. Typically, you can return to the ocean in 4 to 8 weeks. You must first allow the ear to completely heal.
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