Symptoms and Prevention
There are some advantages to surfing on the West Coast (less crowds, no sharks) but one of the biggest disadvantages of surfing in the cold water is a condition called surfers ear. It is a bony growth in the ear canal. This is just a way the body tries to protect itself from the cold water. The more you surf, the faster it grows. In advanced stages it affects your hearing, and leads to infections, because the water gets trapped in the ear channel. The only way to remove this is by expensive, painful operations.
What is Surfer’s ear?
Bony growth, exostosis, of the ear canal occurs when the bone is irritated by cold. Heat loss, results from evaporation, conduction, convection and radiation. Cold air blowing over the wet skin lowers the temperature by evaporation thus stimulating the bony growth. If we don’t do anything about it, it will get to a stage where the ear canal gets so blocked that the water gets trapped inside it. This leads to painful ear infections. The doctor’s bills and medications to treat the infections can run into hundreds of rands.
I have had two of these opps, and I need to go for another one, and let me tell you,”it aint no picnic”.
The only other way to combat this is to protect our ears against the cold and water. I have tried all sorts of methods to combat this and it included hoodies, prestik, cotton wool with Vaseline, surfboard wax, and even plastic. All off these methods work, but I felt totally doff due to the loss of hearing and it affected my balance. These are the main reasons most people do not want to wear earplugs. Well I have stumbled across the first plug that I don’t mind using. It’s called Doc’s Pro plugs. The main difference with Doc’s Pro Plug’s is that you get different sizes, and that it has a tiny hole in the plug to allow sound waves through so you can still hear while you are wearing them, and you do not get the pressure build up on your eardrum like you get with prestik.
Prevention is better than cure
I will encourage all water users to try to protect yourself and your kids against this. Yes even your kids!!!! Doc’s Pro plugs come out in all different sizes and you will find a size for a mouse or even an elephant. Most people wait until they have earache before they try to do something against it but by then it is too late.
DOC’S PROPLUGS protect the ear by keeping a warm pocket of air in the canal and keeps most of the cold water out without impeding hearing and balance.
Scott’s Valve is a hole (vent) in the inner diaphragm of the plug. It allows sound through while water does not pass through the hole in wipeouts.
Anyone with severe narrowing of the ear canal can avoid frequent blockage by wearing proplugs.
Earwax is nature’s own way of protecting the skin by waterproofing and providing an acid pH mantle to inhibit growth of micro organisms. The problem with surfing without plugs is that the water rinses all the wax out of the ear. This makes us more prone to ear infections.
So….. Take care of your ears. Doc’s Pro Plugs will definitely reduce the risk of surfers ear and infections.