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Why should i wear ear plugs when surfing?
Exotosis is a condition which is commonly known as swimmers ear, or surfer’s ear. The cause of surfer’s ear is due to cold wind and water entering the ear canal, and this in turn causes excessive growth of bone in the ear canal. This bone growth blocks the ear canal, causes infection, hear loss and results in unpleasant surgery to clear the ear canal. Follow this link to read about Exostosis, or surfers ear.
I didn’t wear ear plugs for years, but after I noticed that my ears hurt and they felt like they had some sort of pressure inside them, I began to investigate why. I quickly found that I was suffering the initial stages of exotosis and needed to find a solution to prevent further bone growth in my ear canal. Luckily I didn’t need surgery because I caught the symptoms early and have worn ear plugs ever since.
Over the years I have tried numerous ear plugs, some are good and some bad. One downside to wearing plugs is they block your hearing, which in turn can affect balance. However, there are ear plugs such as Proplugs which are perforated to enhance hearing. However, the Proplugs sometimes popped out when being washed around in the white water of a big wave. I then tried Sorky ear plugs and these where good, but they weren’t perforated, so my hearing was impaired. So I was left using ear plugs which weren’t quite perfect, until I was given a pair of Seals ear plugs to review!
So what were the Seals ear plugs like? (Video Review Below)
Seals are a parent company of well the known brand of ear plugs of called Sorkys. Seals are very similar to Sorky in design, but the major difference is that Seals are perforated. This means there’s there’s no lack of hearing, which also effects balance. The perforated part of the plug features a membrane which stops water seeping through the perforation.
To insert the ear plugs, you apply them to the application tool provided in the pack and gently insert into the opening of the ear. The tool provided is used to make inserting the plugs easier, but I found it a bit fiddly and found it easier to fit the ear plugs with the tips of my fingers. The process of inserting the plugs was very easy and they felt super comfortable. Taking the plugs out is even simpler; you just pull the stem which hangs out of the ear.
When I first applied the plugs, my hearing was very slightly dampened, but I could hear. I was further surprised when i used them in the water, my hearing didn’t seem slightly dampened as it did when I first fitted them. At first glance I was initially concerned that these little pieces of silicon would never stay in place when in the water. Other brands of ear plugs come with some sort of leash to make sure if they pop out, you can retrieve them and refit. Seals seemed to be confident that they wouldn’t pop out because they come without a leash. I have found that they stay in place even when being washed around in a massive wipe out. When using the plugs in the water, they felt like i had nothing in my ears. I kept freaking out and thinking they had popped out. However, every time I checked to see if they were still there, I could feel the silicon stem in my ears. After a few hours use I totally forgot they were there!
For safe storage, the ear plugs are placed in a small aluminium case which can be attached to a key ring.
Its a very good job that these ear plugs don’t pop out because the RRP is set at £39.99. This seems excessive for two very small bits of medical grade silicon and an aluminium case. Sorky ear plugs are set at a RRP of £34.99 which is £5 cheaper than Seals. However, I would pay the extra £5 just for the added benefit of being able to hear very clearly in the water. It’s such a nightmare when people are talking to you in the water and you can’t hear jack diddly.
Ok, the £40 price tag might seem a lot, but I would rather have a good pair of ear plugs which allow me to ear freely and prevent exotosis and my head being drilled. It’s a no brainer really, i think this piece of kit is just as important as a surfboard, or wetsuit!
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