Whereas each surfer has spun a story or two about surf accidents—a board to the again of the pinnacle, a hand sliced on a fin, a dislocated joint after a very violent closeout—these accidents are literally somewhat uncommon.
There’s a surf illness way more frequent, far much less talked about, and doubtlessly significantly extra harmful: exostosis (aka surfer’s ear). It’s an issue that impacts shut to 1 out of each three surfers and, if untreated, may cause ache and extreme listening to loss.
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The situation is attributable to extended publicity to chilly water and impacts each younger and previous surfers. When the ear canal is irritated over a protracted time period, it responds by rising bone, successfully narrowing the canal and inflicting listening to loss.
Ultimately, this bone progress turns into so pronounced that it could actually result in complete listening to loss and could be handled solely by chopping out or shaving down the bony progress, a course of that requires a six- to eight-week restoration.
“As we’ve developed superb wetsuits and surf year-round in colder and colder water, the irritation from the chilly water is inflicting exostosis, or surfer’s ear,” says Dr. Ken Fujioka, a San Diego–based mostly physician and avid surfer who has undergone surfer’s ear surgical procedures on every ear. “I don’t know why we don’t hear about it extra.”
Along with resulting in listening to loss, the growths additionally lure water and trigger frequent infections, which could be significantly dangerous for these spending prolonged intervals within the surf. Now that wetsuits are extending seasons longer and longer, that threat is amplified, even for youthful surfers.
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Surgical procedure is the one actual “remedy” for surfer’s ear, however Fujioka notes that prevention is probably going the most effective type of therapy.
See these guys within the lineup sporting the earplugs? Many, if not all of them, are hoping to stop surfer’s ear and a few critical medical complications.
For many who assume earplugs impair listening to, a couple of corporations, like SurfEars out of Sweden, have designed surf-specific plugs that permit sound waves in whereas holding the true waves out.
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Fujioka is not sure why there may be so little publicity surrounding the ear damage, given its prevalence within the surf group, however thinks that surfer’s ear will proceed to develop as the game turns into extra widespread around the globe.
“I’m amazed on the variety of surfers that don’t put on earplugs (my son included), and know surfer’s ear isn’t any joke,” says Fujioka. “I’ve had the surgical procedures myself and I couldn’t surf; it was no enjoyable.”
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