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

When just about every surfer has spun a tale or two about surf injuries—a board

When just about 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 soon after a especially violent closeout—these injuries are really relatively uncommon.

There is a surf illness significantly more typical, considerably fewer stated, and probably significantly more risky: exostosis (aka surfer’s ear). It’s a challenge that affects shut to 1 out of just about every three surfers and, if untreated, can cause soreness and extreme hearing reduction.

The affliction is induced by extended exposure to chilly water and affects both equally young and previous surfers. When the ear canal is irritated around a very long interval of time, it responds by escalating bone, properly narrowing the canal and creating hearing reduction.

Ultimately, this bone progress turns into so pronounced that it can guide to full hearing reduction and can be addressed only by chopping out or shaving down the bony progress, a system that necessitates a six- to eight-week restoration.

surfer's ear
A wholesome ear (leading) vs. surfer’s ear (base). Photograph: struna/Shutterstock

“As we have designed really great wetsuits and surf year-spherical in colder and colder water, the irritation from the chilly water is creating exostosis, or surfer’s ear,” suggests Dr. Ken Fujioka, a San Diego–based physician and avid surfer who has undergone surfer’s ear surgeries on each individual ear. “I never know why we never listen to about it more.”

In addition to main to hearing reduction, the growths also lure water and cause repeated bacterial infections, which can be especially hazardous for individuals shelling out prolonged intervals in the surf. Now that wetsuits are extending seasons extended and extended, that chance is amplified, even for young surfers.

Operation is the only real “cure” for surfer’s ear, but Fujioka notes that avoidance is likely the best type of cure.

See individuals guys in the lineup sporting the earplugs? Quite a few, if not all of them, are hoping to avert surfer’s ear and some significant healthcare problems.

For individuals who assume earplugs impair hearing, a few providers, like SurfEars out of Sweden, have developed surf-particular plugs that permit seem waves in even though trying to keep the real waves out.

Fujioka is not sure why there is so tiny publicity surrounding the ear injury, specified its prevalence in the surf local community, but thinks that surfer’s ear will continue to improve as the sport turns into more well-liked all over the entire world.

“I am amazed at the number of surfers that do not use earplugs (my son integrated), and know surfer’s ear is no joke,” suggests Fujioka. “I have experienced the surgeries myself and I could not surf it was no enjoyable.”


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