Surfer’s Ear

In this section we will actually address two conditions which can arise from time in the water, and which people can confuse…Surfers Ear and Swimmers Ear. They may sound the same, but they are quite different, with different symptoms and treatments.

The Gold Coast is renowned for sun, surf and sand, making both common conditions for those spending a lot of time in the water.

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What is Surfers Ear?

Surfer’s ear, or exostoses as it’s known in the medical field, is a condition where the ear canal is slowly narrowed by new bone growth over a long period of time…which means it usually appears in older surfers. The new bone growth is stimulated by exposure to cold water and cold air and continued exposure to the elements can result in the ear canal completely closing over. What we see when we do an otoscopic examination are elevated lesions that protrude into the external auditory canal.

The bone growth is not dangerous and in many cases is symptom free, however due to the bone growing in lumps, water and dead skin can become trapped in the deep canal, resulting in ear infections and reduced hearing.

Request an appointment Call: 1300 405 286

Signs and Symptoms of Surfer’s Ear

The most common signs of a person suffering from Surfer’s Ear include:

  • A temporary or ongoing decrease in hearing or hearing loss
  • An increase in ear infections
  • Pain
  • Difficulty removing water from the ear canal
  • The sensation of water in the ear
  • Blocked ears

Treating Surfer’s Ear

In most cases, a simple treatment plan is developed which includes a few visits to the Ear Clinic a year to ensure that wax or other debris is not blocking the canal. In more serious cases, surgical intervention may be required to widen the ear canal by having the excess bony lumps from the canal removed. Our Ear Doctors can arrange referral to an ENT surgeon for this delicate surgery.

Request an appointment Call: 1300 405 286