Surfers Ear: What is it and how to prevent it

Surfers ear (also known as swimmers ear) is something you may have heard of in the world of water sports, you may even know a sufferer or been a victim to it yourself. For many young surfers, there is a big warning from a lot of veterans out there to look after your ears or suffer the consequences later in life.

As we would like to encourage everyone to not be put off heading out into the sea to do what they love, we thought it would be a good idea to chat to expert on the matter and friend of Coast to Coast John Allen. 

John is a fully qualified Audiologist and runs The Hearing Health Clinic alongside working for the NHS. He has a son who is part of the Belhaven Surf Club and is keen for surfers to understand how to minimise damage to their ears and hearing. We thought who best to chat with and hopefully help a few of you budding surfers out there with an exciting new product already creating a lot of buzz in the local water sports community. 

Photograph: John and son Sam heading for a surf at Belhaven (Photo credit: Kate Allen)

Q: What is surfers ear and how does it happen?

John: Surfer’s ear, also known as external auditory exostosis, develops when repeated exposure to cold water and wind stimulates the ear canal to produce extra bone. This can result in the formation of bony growths, leading to a narrowed or blocked ear canal. The condition is commonly seen in surfers and cold-water swimmers.

Q: What are some of the risks associated with surfers ear?

John: The impact of surfer’s ear includes an elevated risk of ear infections due to water and debris becoming trapped in the narrowed canal. Hearing loss may also occur as the growths obstruct sound waves passing through the ear canal. In severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to remove the excess bone and restore normal ear function. Regular preventive measures, such as wearing earplugs, are recommended for those at risk.

Q: What are some of the things surfers can do to protect their ears?

John: The best protection available to prevent surfer’s ear is by using a set of customised ear plugs. They are made using medical grade silicone, fill the whole ear and give an excellent seal to ensure maximum protection against any water getting into the ear canal. There is an optional acoustic filter to allow you to hear better when in the water.

The current cost for a pair of custom fitted, floatable surf plugs is £90.00. With an additional acoustic filter to allow you to hear better in the water when wearing them is £130.00.  These prices include the ear impression fee, the choice of various colours, a cord that is attached to the plugs and a carry case. 

Photograph: What is included in your purchase

Q: What can people out there do if they are interested in getting their hands on this kind of product?

John: If you would like to order a pair of customised surf plugs, we are running a session on Saturday, December 16th from 2 – 4pm.  An appointment to have impressions taken of your ears will take approximately 20 minutes. To book in or to arrange an alternative appointment at one of their clinics please contact me at The Hearing Health Clinic on 07719 955714 or email john@hearinghealthclinic.co.uk.

Thank you John for your time and if you out there have any further questions please get in touch with Coast to Coast and we would be happy to help you out.

Share this Post:

Related Posts

Adult

More

Experience the coast like never before

Navigate the rugged coastline, scramble over rocky terrain, jump and swim in our Coasteering adventure zone.

Mobile Surf Tours

Scoping out the best waves and taking the crew!

Island Surf Tours

Island surf adventures in some of Scotland’s most beautiful places.

North Coast Surf Tours

Incredible beaches and world-class waves.

Adult

Junior

Equipment Hire

Hire surf skate boards & safety equipment. Become a carving master!

Find your surf level

Surf coaching can help you improve quickly but it’s important to start at the right level.

We have 4 stages of development: beginner, improver, intermediate and advanced.

The way we teach, where and what we offer varies depending on your level.

Beginner

Ideal for?

  • Those new to the sport of surfing
  • Those who have surfed before but struggle to catch or stand in white water waves

Aims: To have fun surfing safely while developing your technique and knowledge – becoming a white water warrior!

Availability: Daily lessons subject to waves and tours.

Improver

Ideal for? 

  • Those who can catch waves and stand with good posture consistently and in control in white water
  • Those who are surfing unbroken waves but are struggling to catch unbroken waves, trim along or control speed.

Aims: To position, paddle, pop up and glide better along unbroken waves safely while developing your technique and knowledge – becoming a green wave glider!

Availability: Weekly lessons subject to waves and tours.

Intermediate

Ideal for?

  • Those that can surf with control along an unbroken wave.
  • For those that wish to improve their speed and manoeuvrability.

Aims: To have fun learning to use your body, the wave and your board to surf dynamically learning the foundation skills in surfing – becoming a blue wave ripper!

Availability: Weekly lessons subject to waves, bespoke offseason lessons, online coaching and tours.

Advanced

Ideal for? 

  • Those that have the foundation manoeuvres dialled but wish to know more.

Aims: To use the wave differently surfing deeper, further, higher and lower.

Availability:

Tours and bespoke offseason lessons, online coaching.