I had the operation last year because I was getting real funky ear infections and couldn't hear. Water would get trapped behind the growths and then get infected with no way of getting out.
The first week or so after surgery was pretty gnarly because they clog your ear with stuff that dissolves eventually, and you get dizzy until it does.
After a few weeks, though, it was back to normal and I haven't had any problems since. Now from October through May, I wear ear plugs to keep the ear canals warm & unexposed to the wind. Doc' ProPlugs (ordered for $12 from CA) work well and you can still hear with them in. Also bought an ear dryer for post sessions to make sure no residual water is in the ear ('Sahara' makes it - pricey, but it works).
I just had an ENT doctor tell me I had surfers ear. A bony growth that develops in your earn canal due to exposure of cold water.
Is anyone dealing with this? Having any major problems because of it? Anyone gone through the operation?
Micah, Ive been diagnosed/dealing with it for the past 5 years or so. Symptoms are frequent painful ear infections, and hearing problems due to blockage. Basically the canals get constricted by bone growth and theres almost no opening left. Then any infection, swelling, water in the ear, or earwax buildup just plugs it shut and you have no hearing for days. Its SUPER annoying and somewhat painful when the infections flare up. As Dr. Howard in Lewes explained it to me, with almost no opening left, any water trapped (shower water, ocean water, it doesn't matter) stagnates quickly become an infection point. Anti infection / anti inflammatory meds become a constant ritual to open the ears back up.
About 6 months ago i got serious and have used ear plugs every time i get in the water since, try to remember to use them in the shower, and have kept the hood up since the water got below 50 every minute of every session. Its working, ive been pain free all winter. I'll probably have the operation this year, up in Wilmington by a guy Dr. Howard recommended who uses a high tech method (laser vs. drill).
thanks for the info. Mitchell, please keep me updated if you get the operation.
I have been getting frequent ear infections after I go surfing, and often lose hearing in my one ear for days. I lost half of a Nicaragua trip this summer because of it. Basically, I just end up taking antibiotics every time my ear gets infected. I also have chronic ringing in my ears, not sure if that is related.
I've started using the docs pro plugs, and they seem much better than other plugs i have tried, because you can hear pretty well out of them.
For all you other winter time surfers out there, I recommend not waiting until you develop surfers ear, go for the ear plugs now and dont wait till it gets bad. Also, use an ear drying solution after you surf, so that the water doesn't get trapped in there.
never had any experience with bony growth from the cold water, but if you ever get an infection from just your ears getting clogged (ie swimmers ear,) the best remedy is to put a few drops of one-part rubbing alcohol, one-part white vinegar in the ear and let it sit for a min. I've been swimming competitively for years and I used to get swimmer's ear all the time... the drops work like a charm. dries out the ear canal and kills any bacteria, too.