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

Though each and 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 significantly violent closeout—these accidents are in fact relatively exceptional.

There is a surf illness considerably much more common, far less mentioned, and potentially substantially much more perilous: exostosis (aka surfer’s ear). It’s a challenge that affects close to a single out of each and every three surfers and, if untreated, can induce pain and significant hearing reduction.

The condition is brought on by prolonged publicity to chilly h2o and affects both youthful and aged surfers. When the ear canal is irritated over a prolonged period of time of time, it responds by increasing bone, efficiently narrowing the canal and triggering hearing reduction.

Eventually, this bone growth becomes so pronounced that it can guide to complete hearing reduction and can be dealt with only by cutting out or shaving down the bony growth, a approach that involves a 6- to 8-7 days restoration.

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

“As we have developed pretty good wetsuits and surf 12 months-spherical in colder and colder h2o, the discomfort from the chilly h2o is triggering exostosis, or surfer’s ear,” suggests Dr. Ken Fujioka, a San Diego–based health practitioner and avid surfer who has undergone surfer’s ear surgeries on every ear. “I do not know why we do not hear about it much more.”

In addition to top to hearing reduction, the growths also entice h2o and induce frequent infections, which can be significantly destructive for individuals shelling out prolonged durations in the surf. Now that wetsuits are extending seasons extended and extended, that chance is amplified, even for youthful surfers.

Medical procedures is the only real “cure” for surfer’s ear, but Fujioka notes that avoidance is probable the best kind of procedure.

See individuals fellas in the lineup sporting the earplugs? Quite a few, if not all of them, are hoping to avert surfer’s ear and some really serious health care complications.

For individuals who assume earplugs impair hearing, a couple firms, like SurfEars out of Sweden, have designed surf-unique plugs that enable seem waves in though keeping the real waves out.

Fujioka is unsure why there is so minor publicity bordering the ear injuries, supplied its prevalence in the surf group, but thinks that surfer’s ear will keep on to increase as the sport becomes much more well-liked all over the earth.

“I am stunned at the range of surfers that do not wear earplugs (my son involved), and know surfer’s ear is no joke,” suggests Fujioka. “I have experienced the surgeries myself and I could not surf it was no pleasurable.”


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