The Browsing Damage You Not often Hear About: Surfer’s Ear

Whereas each surfer has spun a story or two about surf accidents—a board to the again of the top, a hand sliced on a fin, a dislocated joint after a very violent closeout—these accidents are literally fairly uncommon.

There’s a surf illness rather more frequent, far much less talked about, and doubtlessly significantly extra harmful: exostosis (aka surfer’s ear). It’s an issue that impacts shut to 1 out of each three surfers and, if untreated, could cause ache and extreme listening to loss.

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The situation is brought on by extended publicity to chilly water and impacts each younger and outdated surfers. When the ear canal is irritated over an extended time frame, it responds by rising bone, successfully narrowing the canal and inflicting listening to loss.

Ultimately, this bone progress turns into so pronounced that it could actually result in complete listening to loss and may be handled solely by reducing out or shaving down the bony progress, a course of that requires a six- to eight-week restoration.

A wholesome ear (prime) vs. surfer’s ear (backside). Photograph: struna/Shutterstock

“As now we have developed excellent wetsuits and surf year-round in colder and colder water, the irritation from the chilly water is inflicting exostosis, or surfer’s ear,” says Dr. Ken Fujioka, a San Diego–primarily based physician and avid surfer who has undergone surfer’s ear surgical procedures on every ear. “I don’t know why we don’t hear about it extra.”

Along with resulting in listening to loss, the growths additionally entice water and trigger frequent infections, which may be significantly dangerous for these spending prolonged intervals within the surf. Now that wetsuits are extending seasons longer and longer, that threat is amplified, even for youthful surfers.

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Surgical procedure is the one actual “treatment” for surfer’s ear, however Fujioka notes that prevention is probably going the very best type of remedy.

See these guys within the lineup sporting the earplugs? Many, if not all of them, are hoping to forestall surfer’s ear and a few critical medical complications.

For many who suppose earplugs impair listening to, a number of corporations, like SurfEars out of Sweden, have designed surf-specific plugs that permit sound waves in whereas protecting the true waves out.

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Fujioka is not sure why there’s so little publicity surrounding the ear harm, given its prevalence within the surf group, however thinks that surfer’s ear will proceed to develop as the game turns into extra widespread around the globe.

“I’m amazed on the variety of surfers that don’t put on earplugs (my son included), and know surfer’s ear isn’t any joke,” says Fujioka. “I’ve had the surgical procedures myself and I couldn’t surf; it was no enjoyable.”


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