We get your thought: if cold causes it, then warmth will make it go away. Sadly that is not the case.
Once your bone has grown, it doesn’t shrink anymore when your ears get warm again. Think of it how your other bones grow — you start of as a small child, over the time bone grows but it will never shrink again. (Unless you break it, impacts it or because of diseases like osteoporosis occurring mostly in elderly people.)
Surfer’s ear won’t ever disappear — but you can slow it down, or avoid it in the first place.
So, there is this ONE way to make Surfer’s Ear go away: surgery. If your bone growth in the ear canal becomes severe, the only way to have it removed is by surgery. There are currently two major techniques, one where the extra bones get drilled, the other one got chiseled out. While chiselling sound more brutal, it turned out to be the more precise technique leading to better results.
So, yeah, surgery can make it go away, but that is definitely not the most pleasant way. And while surgery buys you time, it doesn’t mean your bone will never grow back when exposed to cold water afterwards. In short: Surgery is the last option! Hence our strong recommendation to avoid Surfer’s Ear as good and as early as possible.
Answered by M. von Grote, MD and M. Goettinger, MD