Protect Your Hearing Whilst Surfing With This Simple Tip
If you surf you may well have heard of surfer’s ear. This is a condition which is unfortunately common among regular surfers. It happens when the outer ear is exposed to cold. Sea water and wind lead to evaporation which can reduce the skin temperature below air temperature. The bone’s rather strange reaction is to grow small bony lumps around the outermost part of the ear canal. This slowly blocks the ear canal leading to deafness and ear infections.
Thankfully the problem can be prevented by keeping the outer ear and the bone around it warm. The best way of doing this is to wear ear plugs and a neoprene cap. Most surfers know about the need for ear plugs but the majority are not aware that they need a cap as well. This is because of the mastoid bone behind the ear. If this gets cold it can cause the condition.
Little research has been performed into surfer’s ear. Recently ZenPlugs decided to look into the problem. They wanted to find out the effectiveness of the combination of plugs and hat. To do this they sent out a survey to surfers using social media and a hospital mailing list. They received 203 responses, a good enough number to believe that the results are significant.
They found that the risk of going deaf was 17 times less if surfers wear both surfing ear plugs and a neoprene cap more than 90% of the time.
Without them 60% of people who had been surfing for ten years or more had a diagnosis of surfer’s ear. The actual number with the malady could be much higher as deafness usually isn’t usually noticed until the narrowing reaches 90%. It is interesting that a small number of people didn’t develop the condition despite surfing unprotected for many years. Presumably their bone doesn’t respond to the cold in the same way as most people.
ZenPlugs also wanted to find out how long people were spending in the water; the average total number of hours surfed across the whole group was 2880. The group averaged 2 hours per session, 8 surfs a month and 15 years surfing.
Summary. If you want to reduce your chance of developing surfer’s ear by 17 times then make sure you wear a surfing cap and ear plugs most of the time.
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