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The Surfing Injury You Rarely Hear About: Surfer’s Ear

Whilst each and every surfer has spun a tale or two about surf injuries—a board to the back of the head, a hand sliced on a fin, a dislocated joint following a specifically violent closeout—these accidents are essentially alternatively exceptional.

There is a surf malady much far more widespread, far fewer talked about, and probably considerably far more perilous: exostosis (aka surfer’s ear). It’s a dilemma that impacts shut to 1 out of each and every 3 surfers and, if untreated, can trigger agony and extreme hearing loss.

The situation is induced by extended exposure to cold water and impacts both of those younger and old surfers. When the ear canal is irritated in excess of a prolonged time period of time, it responds by rising bone, effectively narrowing the canal and causing hearing loss.

Inevitably, this bone advancement gets to be so pronounced that it can direct to total hearing loss and can be treated only by slicing out or shaving down the bony advancement, a course of action that calls for a 6- to eight-week restoration.

surfer's ear
A balanced ear (best) vs. surfer’s ear (bottom). Photo: struna/Shutterstock

“As we have created extremely very good wetsuits and surf 12 months-spherical in colder and colder water, the irritation from the cold water is causing exostosis, or surfer’s ear,” claims Dr. Ken Fujioka, a San Diego–based health care provider and avid surfer who has undergone surfer’s ear surgeries on every single ear. “I really do not know why we really do not hear about it far more.”

In addition to primary to hearing loss, the growths also trap water and trigger regular bacterial infections, which can be specifically harmful for people spending prolonged periods in the surf. Now that wetsuits are extending seasons extended and extended, that danger is amplified, even for younger surfers.

Medical procedures is the only genuine “cure” for surfer’s ear, but Fujioka notes that avoidance is most likely the very best form of remedy.

See people fellas in the lineup sporting the earplugs? Many, if not all of them, are hoping to protect against surfer’s ear and some severe medical headaches.

For people who assume earplugs impair hearing, a few organizations, like SurfEars out of Sweden, have created surf-certain plugs that permit audio waves in while maintaining the genuine waves out.

Fujioka is unsure why there is so minor publicity surrounding the ear personal injury, presented its prevalence in the surf neighborhood, but thinks that surfer’s ear will proceed to develop as the activity gets to be far more popular all over the globe.

“I am amazed at the variety of surfers that do not wear earplugs (my son integrated), and know surfer’s ear is no joke,” claims Fujioka. “I have had the surgeries myself and I could not surf it was no pleasurable.”


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