Suffering From
Surfer's Ear?

Frequent exposure to cold water can cause inflammation of the bone in the ear canal. This leads to the formation of new bone growth, which can result in significant hearing loss over time.



Scroll For Symptoms and Treatment

Surfer's ear is a condition where the bone of the ear canal develops multiple bony growths called exostoses. Over time, this can eventually cause a partial or complete blockage of the ear canal.

The condition is primarily caused by prolonged exposure to cold water or wind. Cold water surfers are six times more likely to get surfer's ear than warm water surfers. When the ear canal is narrow, water and debris can become trapped and cause an infection. When 90% or more of the ear canal is blocked, significant hearing loss occurs. The loss can only be relieved by removing the bony growths in the ear.

If you believe you are suffering from Surfer’s Ear, call ENT Associates of Santa Barbara today at 805.964.6926 to schedule an appointment with a physician.

Symptoms Include:

  • Temporary or ongoing hearing loss
  • Increased prevalence of ear infections
  • Water becoming trapped in the ear canal after swimming

Diagnosis and Treatment:

It is important to seek treatment early.

Treatment for this condition usually requires an outpatient surgical procedure known as canalplasty. One of our skilled surgeons will use a binocular microscope to remove the exostotic growth. Generally a through-the-ear-canal (endaural) approach is used and a chisel-type technique. If the bony growths extend close to the ear drum, the surgery may be done from behind the ear through an incision. You will go home the same day as the procedure, and the recovery period is at least one month. If ear plugs are not worn after the ear canals have healed, surfer's ear can return over the course of several years.

Call ENT Associates of Santa Barbara today at 805.964.6926 to schedule an appointment with a physician.

Prevent Surfer’s Ear:

The best way to prevent surfer's ear is to wear ear plugs while surfing.

Other methods of prevention include wearing a hood or special headband that covers and seals the ears. Wearing ear plugs and a hood or headband together adds even more protection.

To protect your hearing, book an appointment for custom earplugs, call Hearing Services of Santa Barbara at 805.967.4200.

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