Surfer's Ear: how to treat it and prevent it –
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Surfer's Ear: how to treat it and prevent it

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Surfer's ear

Surfer's ear is a term used for a condition that causes an abnormal bone growth common in the ears of someone who spends a lot of time in the water. Not be confused with swimmer's ear, which is often visible on the outside of the ear, surfer's ear is caused by ongoing exposure to cold and wind. Surfers, swimmers and even skiers and motorcyclists can develop Surfer's ear. In fact anyone who has prolonged exposure cold and wind can develop a bony growth. 


Signs of Surfer's Ear

Most avid surfers will have some type of bone growth. If the growth is mild, there is usually no problem. In fact, most surfers who do have some bone growth inside their ears won't even notice it until it becomes somewhat serious. Surfer's ear is usually more noticeable in one ear over the other, depending on which ear gets the most exposure to the wind and cold water. Signs of surfer's ear include:

• Noticeable hearing loss (usually starts as intermittent and becomes more pronounced)
• Increased instances of ear infections (usually includes some degree of ear pain)
• Difficulty getting water or other debris out of your ear (usually includes a "plugging sensation")


Treatment for Surfer's Ear

Surgery is required to remove the bone growth obstructing the ear canal. The surgery is usually performed with general anesthesia in an operating room. A special microscope is needed to ensure that the entire growth is removed. The bone growth is either approached directly through the ear canal or through an incision made behind the ear. Newer techniques use very small chisels rather than a drill to remove the bone growth. This is done to preserve as much skin as possible. During the recovery period, the ear cannot be exposed to water or cold air to prevent infection or other complications. Surfer's ear may return after additional exposure to wind and cold water over time. Repeated operations may be required on the same ear.


Preventing Surfer's Ear

The good news is that Surfers ear is preventable. While there is no guarantee that surfer's ear will never occur there are ways to reduce the chances of developing surfer's ear. Most instances of surfer's ear occur in cold water adventurists who don't protect their ears from extreme cold water or wind. Ways to prevent surfer's ear include:

• Limiting the time spent in cold water or areas with cold winds
• Taking a shower in warm water after getting out of cold water
• Using earplugs to keep water out of your ears all together

Earplugs are an easy cheap solution to this painful condition and are really the only almost full-proof way to prevent the conditions that cause surfer's ear to develop. Fortunately for fashion-conscious surfers, earplugs come in various sizes, shapes, and colors. All that's really needed is a pair of earplugs that can keep water out. 

Try from our range of beeswax earplugs and range of silicone putty plugs and ZENPLUGS DIY moldable earplugs.   

Surf's up!   

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