What is Surfer’s Ear?

Surfer’s Ear, formally referred to as Exostosis, is a condition in which bony growths appear in the ear canal. Surfer’s Ear may develop at different rates in each individual and is not harmful unless the growth is causing water to become trapped, opening the door to recurrent ear infections or if it begins to block the ear canal completely.


The most common symptom of Surfer’s Ear is a persistent feeling of fullness – as if the ear is plugged. If the bony growths block most of the ear canal, infections may develop and potentially cause earaches and hearing loss.


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


AAn ear examination using an otoscope or microscope will determine the presence of surfer’s ear. These types of bony growths present in the ear canal and are easily visible during a routine ear examination.


Surgical removal of the exostosis is highly successful in restoring hearing. Surfer’s Ear surgery is performed using a minimally invasive surgical technique performed through the ear canal, without the usual incisions behind the ear. Surfer’s Ear surgery is done as an outpatient procedure and patients can typically return to water activities between 3 and 8 weeks depending on the individual healing process.


The regular use of ear plugs while spending time in cold water can help slow the growth of Surfer’s Ear.

Taj Burrow, World Class Champion Surfer

Surfer’s Ear was making me miserable when I was referred to Dr. Shohet several years ago. He performed surgery on an outpatient basis and I was back in the water in no time. So when my other ear needed to be cleared of Surfer’s Ear growths, I went back to Dr. Shohet. I highly recommend him to other surfers. He is a terrific doctor, and gave me lots of confidence before, during and after my surgery. The whole process was a piece of a cake.

izzy (3)

Izzy Paskowitz, Director, Paskowitz Surf Camp

Surfer’s ear was making my life miserable. I was experiencing hearing loss and having recurrent ear infections. Dr. Shohet used a simple procedure to clear my ears and help restore my hearing. I’m back in the water and back in action. I wouldn’t go to any other ear doctor–my result was terrific.

Surfers Ear Surgery with Dr. Shohet

“This video contains graphic images of a surgical nature. View at your discretion.”

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