Surfer's Ear (Exostosis)

What You Should Know


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A persistent feeling of fullness - as if the ear is plugged - is the most common symptoms of surfer’s ear, a condition in which bony growths appear in the ear canal, blocking the eardrum. If the bony growths block most of the ear canal, infections can develop and cause earaches and hearing loss.


It is believed that the ear canal’s repeated exposure to cold water and wind stimulates the bone growths that narrow the canal and block the eardrum. Surfers and swimmers are particularly at risk because they spend long hours in the water.


Exostoses may not cause symptoms, or they may lead to ear infections and hearing loss, especially if they are big enough to block the ear canal. An ear examination using an otoscope will determine the presence of surfer’s ear.


Surgical removal of the exostosis is highly successful in restoring hearing. Treatment for Surfer’s Ear at our medical center near Los Angeles is provided using a minimally invasive surgical technique performed through the ear canal, without the usual incisions behind the ear. For most people, this means less pain and faster recovery. Contact our Orange County ear doctor for more details on surfer ear treatment.

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