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Surfer’s Ear (Exostosis)

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Surfer's Ear





A persistent feeling of fullness – as if the ear is plugged – is the most common symptoms of surfer’s ear, a condition in which bony growths appear in the ear canal, blocking the eardrum. If the bony growths block most of the ear canal, infections can develop and cause earaches and hearing loss.


It is believed that the ear canal’s repeated exposure to cold water and wind stimulates the bone growths that narrow the canal and block the eardrum. Surfers and swimmers are particularly at risk because they spend long hours in the water.


Exostoses may not cause symptoms, or they may lead to ear infections and hearing loss, especially if they are big enough to block the ear canal. An ear examination using an otoscope will determine the presence of surfer’s ear.


Surgical removal of the exostosis is highly successful in restoring hearing. Treatment for Surfer’s Ear is a minimally invasive surgical procedure performed through the ear canal, without the need for an incisions behind the ear. For most people, this means less pain and faster recovery.


Surfer’s Ear- An Inconvenient Truth
“There are only two truly distinguishable types of surfers. Those who wear earplugs and those who don’t. Those of us who don’t wear ear plugs view them with feelings of curiosity, suspicion and occasionally guilt. Guilt that perhaps we should be wearing them. Most of us don’t give earplugs any further consideration, until the next time we see a person with Blue-Tac in their ears…”

–  Read more from this article  “Surfer’s Ear- An Inconvenient Truth” posted on April 4, 2014 on, a popular surf culture magazine.