Surfer’s Ear

I’ve had an ear infection for a few days and eventually gave in to the nagging I was getting from Anna and her Mum and phoned the doctors. I was told to go to A&E where I saw the on call doctor. As suspected he told me that I had a pretty bad ear infection in both ears, but also guessed that I was a surfer as apparently I have pretty severe ‘surfer’s ear’ as well.

Looks as though my hearing could get worse pretty soon!

Surfer’s ear is the common name for anĀ  abnormal bone growth within the ear canal, more accurately known as an exostosis. It is caused by irritation from cold wind and water exposure that causes the bone surrounding the ear canal to develop lumps of new bony growth which constrict the ear canal. Not surprising that I would suffer from it then.

There isn’t much that I can do about it other than avoiding going out on the water in cold, windy conditions – Not really an option! Wearing earplugs or neoprene headbands when I’m out there may help, but otherwise I guess I should just resign myself to going deaf with dignity! If it gets really bad they can perform a surgical procedure to remove the growths, but that would mean at least a couple of months off the water while it healed.

At the moment it’s OK, but it could be the cause if the infection as the constriction of the ear canal from these growths can trap debris, leading to painful and difficult to treat infections. For now I’m on a double dose of antibiotics to try to clear it up.

5 Responses

  1. Rob Shaddick says:

    Hi Alan – sorry to hear (no pun) that you have been diagnosed with surfers ear… my advice (as an Audiologist, Surfer, fellow sufferer and surfplug designer/manufacturer) is not to be flippant about the surgery and get yourself some plugs…. loads of info on my site or the blog at – whatever you do make sure you do something!!

    Cheers – keep surfing…. baltic out there at the moment!


    • Alan says:

      Thanks Rob, don’t want to divert people from your product(s) but I’ve read elsewhere that a lump of Blu-Tack is pretty effective too. No doubt not as good as custom moulded plugs but it has to be better than nothing?


  2. Alan says:

    My ear still hurts and I’m quite often deaf in it so I’m off to the doctors again today. I’ll see if I can get referred to an ENT specialist.


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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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