Why Is It That Some Surfer’s Are So Much More Likely To Get Surfer’s Ear Then Others?
Surfer’s ear is a common cause of deafness and ear infections in people who surf or sea swim regularly over the course of years. The ear’s strange response to the cooling by wind and water is to form tiny bony nodules around the opening. These slowly grow, narrowing the canal and stopping sound getting in and water and debris getting out. This leads to deafness and ear infections. The build up of dirt and dead skin along with prolonged drying time makes for an ideal breeding ground for bugs.
Some surfer’s seem to remain free of surfer’s ear for many years of surfing. Others find themselves going deaf after only a few years. ZenPlugs decided to conduct some research to find out what was the difference between these groups.
They circulated a survey to surfer’s using social media and a hospital newsletter and received 203 responses. They found that people who wore ear plugs for surfing with a surfing cap more than 90% of the time were 17 times less likely to develop surfer’s ear. Most people knew that they needed to wear ear plugs to prevent the condition but unfortunately most did not know that a surfing cap was also needed. This is because the cooling effect of the wind and water has the same effect on the bone behind the ear. It is called the mastoid and contains air cells which communicate with the middle ear space.
Surfers who wore their hat and plugs for more than 90% of the time remained free of the condition when the survey was done. In some cases this was more than 23 years.
Summary. If you want to remain free of surfer’s for more than 20 years make sure you wear your hat and plugs more than 90% of the time.