How Do You Know if You Have Surfer’s Ear?

Young man with symptom of hearing loss on color backgroundSurfer’s ear can affect anyone. You don’t have to be a surfer to develop the condition. Surfer’s ear is not to be confused with swimmer’s ear. The conditions are different. Swimmer’s ear develops when water is trapped in the outer ear canal. It can also be caused by cotton swabs or other objects damaging the skin in the ear canal.

Surfer’s ear occurs when an infection develops in the middle ear canal. Typically the result of abnormal bone growth.

So, how do you know if you are suffering from surfer’s ear? Here’s what you need to know.

Causes and Symptoms of Surfer’s Ear

Surfer’s ear occurs when abnormal bone growth is found in the ear canal. The extra bone causes constriction and thickening in the area. When this occurs, exposure to cold water can become trapped in the ear canal. It either flows inside when you are in the water. Windy conditions may also push the water into the middle ear canal.

Some of the symptoms associated with surfer’s ear include:

  • Ear infections
  • Minor or major hearing loss

Middle ear infections are common in adults suffering from surfer’s ear. When the ear canal gets blocked bacteria can grow in the retained water in the ear canal and cause ear canal infections which may become persistent or recurrent. Another problem is conductive hearing loss.

Sound must travel from the outer ear to the middle and inner ear, but with the constriction caused by abnormal bone growth, sound is blocked. This results in a temporary type of hearing loss

Treating Surfer’s Ear at Del Rey MD, California

Two surgical options exist for surfer’s ear. One involves the doctor making an incision behind the patient’s ear and using a drill to remove the bony growth. The other method involves the doctor using a micro chisel inside the ear canal to eliminate the bony growth. With this procedure, a thin sheet of silicone placed inside the ear protects the treated area after surgery. Three weeks after surgery, the silicone is removed.

If you are experiencing symptoms associated with surfer’s ear, contact our specialists at Del Rey online or call 310-823-4445 to schedule an appointment.

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