Why Some Surfer’s Are Far More Likely To Go Deaf

Molded Ear Plugs ReviewsSurfer’s ear is a common cause of hearing loss and ear infections in people who go in the sea regularly without protecting themselves.  Cold wind and water trigger the formation of small bony lumps around the outside of the canal.  As these get bigger, the canal gets smaller.  When the narrowing reaches about 90% people start to notice they are going deaf.  Doctors have known for years that wearing ear plugs and a surfing cap prevents the problem. ZenPlugs wanted to find out how many of the general surfing population knew this, and just how much difference using them makes.

Using a survey they collected results from 203 keen surfers about their knowledge and behaviour when it came to surfing and surfer’s ear.  They found that most of them knew that surfing ear plugs were needed to prevent the condition but only a minority knew they needed a surfing cap as well.  Amazingly, everyone taking the survey who wore both hat and plugs more than 90% of the time remained free of surfer’s ear.  Some of these surfer’s had been going in the water regularly for more than 20 years.  The less often people wore them, the more likely they were to have the condition.  People who wore them 40% of the time only managed an average of 11 years free of the dreaded disorder.Cold Water Surfing_L

Wearing ear plugs makes sense, but what about the neoprene cap? The main reason for wearing it is to keep the mastoid bones behind the ears warm.  These are the lumps you can feel if you put your hand behind your ear.  These are full of air spaces which are connected to the space in your middle ear.  If the mastoid bone gets cold it can have the same effect as getting the ears cold.

Surfing Ireland Surfers Ear

Summary. If you surf regularly you need to wear a surfing cap and plugs more than 90% of the time to keep yourself free of surfer’s ear.

Words & Statistics by Dr Toby Bateson
Edited & Published by Colin Cooney

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