How to prevent Surfer’s Ear (a.k.a Swimmer's Ear)

How to prevent Surfer’s Ear (a.k.a Swimmer's Ear)

Did you know that you don’t have to be a surfer to get Surfer’s Ear?

In fact, anyone who spends extended periods of time in cold water could be at risk of developing this ear condition. Knowing the signs and symptoms of Surfer’s Ear could help you address it before it comes to that. 

What is Surfer’s Ear?

Also known as Swimmer’s Ear, Surfer’s Ear is a condition of the ear canal.  In an attempt to protect the eardrum from the cold, the ear canal will produce bony growths called exostoses. Eventually, these grow so much that they can partially or completely block the ear canal. When ear wax and water get trapped in the ear canal because of these growths, it can lead to an ear infection.

What are Surfer’s Ear symptoms?

An ear infection is one of the primary symptoms of Surfer’s Ear. Other symptoms include

  • Blocked ears
  • Difficulty removing earwax, water or other debris
  • Pain in your ears
  • Impaired hearing or complete hearing loss (temporary and ongoing)

Significant hearing loss occurs when the exostoses block 90% of the ear canal and can only be restored when these growths are removed. They can only be removed by surgery, either with a chisel or drill! At this point, you need to be avoiding water altogether, so if you love swimming or surfing, it’s best to prevent Surfer’s Ear before you get it.

How do you prevent Surfer’s Ear?

The easiest way to prevent this condition is by staying out of the water, however, if you can’t keep yourself away, there are things you can do to protect your ears and reduce the chances of developing hearing loss.

Invest in custom earplugs

One of the best ways to protect your ear canal while spending time in the water is by wearing custom earplugs. Standard size earplugs that you buy from the chemist can still allow cold air and water into your canal which is why getting custom earplugs is so important. Our range includes products like the Swimfit earplugs which you can purchase and have one of our hearing specialists fit you, by taking custom ear impressions

Use a wetsuit hoodie

If you wear a wetsuit while swimming or surfing, it’s a good idea to use one that has a hood. This keeps your ears covered and helps prevent water from entering the ear canal. If you don’t have a hoodie, a swim cap or special swimming headband can work too.

Trust earLab to care for your ears

We can help prevent hearing loss, conditions like Surfer’s Ear, or remove excess ear wax. Book an appointment at earLAB in Melbourne’s inner west and take better care of your ears today!