- Water in your ears
When your ear canal gets narrower due to the bone growth (exostosis), it is harder to get the water out that has gotten in your ears during surfing. Hence, experiencing water stuck in your ears after surfing can be a first sign of developing Surfer’s Ear. (There are other reasons for stuck water too, so don’t freak out if you got water in your ears. Just get them checked.)
- Acute ear infections
With water being stuck in your ears more frequently and for longer, your ears get worse at drying. This “more humid climate” in your ear canal increases your risk of catching acute ear infections.Also, if the water you surf in is polluted, dirt, chemicals and germs can get stuck in your ear with the water. In healthy ears this nasty stuff gets out quickly again after the surf. If you have surfer’s ear, the nasty pollutants can work its magic for longer, causing increasingly frequent ear infections.
- Hearing loss
So, by now you know Surfer’s Ear is caused by bone growth in your ear canal. In other words the canal where the sound gets in get narrower and narrower until at some point you will notice a hearing loss. Usually this occurs at a very, very late stage of Surfer’s Ear. Or the other way round: if you start working about Surfer’s Ear when you start hearing less, your only option left is probably surgery.
You have some of those symptoms and wonder if you got Surfer’s Ear? Read on to find out how you can find out.
Answered by M. von Grote, MD and M. Goettinger, MD