While just about every surfer has spun a tale or two about surf injuries—a board to the back again of the head, a hand sliced on a fin, a dislocated joint soon after a notably violent closeout—these accidents are in fact instead exceptional.

There is a surf illness much much more prevalent, much fewer mentioned, and likely significantly much more dangerous: exostosis (aka surfer’s ear). It is a dilemma that has an effect on close to just one out of just about every 3 surfers and, if untreated, can induce ache and significant listening to reduction.

The affliction is caused by prolonged publicity to chilly h2o and has an effect on both of those young and outdated surfers. When the ear canal is irritated above a long interval of time, it responds by escalating bone, effectively narrowing the canal and causing listening to reduction.

Ultimately, this bone advancement gets so pronounced that it can lead to complete listening to reduction and can be treated only by reducing out or shaving down the bony advancement, a system that involves a 6- to eight-week restoration.

surfer's ear
A healthier ear (top) vs. surfer’s ear (bottom). Photo: struna/Shutterstock

“As we have developed very excellent wetsuits and surf year-round in colder and colder h2o, the irritation from the chilly h2o is causing exostosis, or surfer’s ear,” claims Dr. Ken Fujioka, a San Diego–based doctor and avid surfer who has undergone surfer’s ear surgeries on each ear. “I don’t know why we don’t listen to about it much more.”

In addition to leading to listening to reduction, the growths also lure h2o and induce regular infections, which can be notably dangerous for those paying prolonged periods in the surf. Now that wetsuits are extending seasons lengthier and lengthier, that possibility is amplified, even for young surfers.

Operation is the only authentic “cure” for surfer’s ear, but Fujioka notes that prevention is most likely the finest form of therapy.

See those guys in the lineup sporting the earplugs? Quite a few, if not all of them, are hoping to protect against surfer’s ear and some critical clinical head aches.

For those who feel earplugs impair listening to, a couple businesses, like SurfEars out of Sweden, have intended surf-particular plugs that allow audio waves in whilst keeping the authentic waves out.

Fujioka is not sure why there is so little publicity bordering the ear damage, provided its prevalence in the surf local community, but thinks that surfer’s ear will go on to mature as the activity gets much more preferred about the entire world.

“I am shocked at the range of surfers that do not don earplugs (my son bundled), and know surfer’s ear is no joke,” claims Fujioka. “I have had the surgeries myself and I could not surf it was no pleasurable.”


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