Exostosis is commonly known as surfer’s ear, which is the excessive growth of bone in the auditory canal. This abnormal growth results in impairing of hearing, and in extreme cases even deafness. The cause of exostosis is due to water and wind entering the auditory meatus (ear canal). This triggers the growth of the bone, which then blocks the ear canal and traps water, bacteria and other debris. After time the trapped debris can also lead to infections in the ear, which can be very painful and unpleasant.
What are the symptoms of surfers ear?
A good indicator of surfers ear is if you feel like you have fluid in your ears, a feeling of fullness, or build up of pressure in the ear. Also if you suffer pain, or reoccurring ear infections, this is a good sign you need to visit a audiologist or your doctor. The picture below shows a blocked ear canal from exostosis, which doesn’t look nice at all.
Whats the cure?
The cure for surfer ear isn’t a pleasant one, basically it involves a drill and slicing an incision at the back of the ear to drill out the bone growth. Once this process has been completed it is likely you will be given a dose of antibiotics and you wont be able to surf for around 8-10 weeks. Below is a video of the surgical procedure, after watching this preventing surfer ear maybe a top priority!
So how do i prevent surfers ear?
Surfers ear is 100% preventable by wearing ear plugs in the waters to prevent wind and cold water entering the ear. Ear plugs also prevent bacteria and debris entering the ear canal as well. There are loads of different brands of ear plugs, which range from around £5 to £40. There’s even a light grade olive oil spray, which you spray into the ear and it creates a thin water proof barrier to stop water entering the ear.
Here’s a list of ear plugs i have used over the years which are good.