Surfers Ear

I've been told I have surfer's ear. What does this mean and will it affect my diving?
An exostosis is a narrowing of the inner half or the bony part of the circular outer ear canal by bony swellings. These localized bony swellings grow slowly over a period of years in response to the irritation of cold water on the skin of the outer ear canal. They are called swimmer’s nodes and are common in the surfing community.

This condition is not related to infection nor is it caused by infection. This blocking of the ear canal, by preventing water from draining out, makes the person more susceptible to outer ear infections. The bony swellings continue to grow while there is a continued exposure to cold water, and the temperature that qualifies as cold, is that found in sea water and outdoor swimming pools in temperate climates.

When the medical examination reveals early development of, or there is an established exostosis, it is important that measures are taken to prevent the continued growth of the exostosis. If swimming in non-tropical waters a hood should always be worn, or for surface swimmer’s only, some form of ear plug should be used.

The narrowed era canal is more prone to blockage by wax or debris, and more susceptible to otitis externa. An exostosis on the floor of the ear canal can form a sump which retains moisture and predisposes it to infection.

Some advise on ear care for divers:
  1. If ears have a natural tendency to occlude with wax, have them checked regularly, particularly before a prolonged diving trip.
  2. Do not poke anything into the ears (finger or cotton bud)
After every dive:
  • Rinse both ears out with fresh water to wash out contaminated water and salt, which is hydrophilic.
  • Instill a couple of drops of 5% acetic acid (vinegar) in 60% ethyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol suffices) into both ears. You may use a commercial solution like Otic Domeboro (prescription only) to treat your ears after every dive or exposure to water.
  • If very prone to ear infections, blow warm air into external canal using a hair dryer.
There is no specific risk for diving. It is recommended to have surgical removal if there is associated hearing loss or repetitive infections of the outer ear.
Posted in

No Comments


Categories

 2018 (49)
 2016 (119)
After anaesthesia Air Quality Altitude sickness Annual renewal Apnea Arthroscopic surgery Bag valve mask Bandaids Barbell back squat Bench press Boyle's Law Boyle\'s Law Boyle\\\'s Law Boyle\\\\\\\'s Law Boyle\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Law Breath hold Breath-hold Buoyancy Burnshield CGASA CO2 Camera settings Cancer Remission Cancer Cape Town Dive Festival Carbon dioxide Charles' Law Charles\' Law Charles\\\' Law Charles\\\\\\\' Law Charles\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\' Law Coastalexcursion Cold Water Cold care Cold Conservation Contaminants Corals DAN Profile DAN Researchers DAN medics DAN report DCI DCS DReams Dalton's Law Dalton\'s Law Dalton\\\'s Law Dalton\\\\\\\'s Law Dalton\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Law Decompression Illness Decompression Sickness Decompression illsnes Dive Instruction Dive Instructor Dive accidents Dive health Dive medicines Dive medicine Dive safety Dive staff Diveleaders Divers Alert Diving career Diving emergencies Diving injuries Diving suspended Diving Dr Rob Schneider EAP Ear pressure Ears injuries Emergency plans Environmental impact Equipment care Exercise Eye injuries FAQ Fatigue First Aid Equipment First Aid kits Fish Fitness Francois Burman Free diving Freediver Gas laws Gastric bypass Gordon Hiles HELP Health practitioner High temperatures Hot Hypothermia Indian Ocean Inert gas Instructors International travel Irritation Kids scubadiver Labour laws Legislation Leukemis Liability Risks Maintenance Medical Q Medical questionaire Medical statement Middle ear pressure Military front press Mycobacterium marinum Nitrox Non-rebreather Mask Nosebleeds O2 providers O2 servicing OOxygen maintenance Ocean pollution Orbital implants Oronasal mask Oxygen Cylinder Oxygen Units Oxygen deicit Oxygen ears Oxygen equipment Oxygen masks Part 3 Plastic Pool Diving Radio communications Rashes Report incidents Rescue training Resume diving SABS 019 Safety Save our seas Science Scuba Injury Scuba children Scuba dive Scuba health Scubalearners Skin Bends Skin outbreak Skin rash Snorkeling Sodwana Bay Squeezes Supplemental oxygen Surgeries Surgery The truth Thermal Notions Tides Travel tips Tweezers Underwater photographer Underwater pho Valsalva manoeuvers Vasvagal Syncope White balance Winter Wreck dive Youth diver abrasion air-cushioned alert diver altitude antibiotics antiseptics bandages bent-over barbell rows breathing air checklist child clearances closed circuit scuba currents dead lift decongestants dehydration dive injuries dive medicing dive ready child diver rescue dive diving attraction doctors domestic travel dri-suits dry mucous membranes dry ear spaces electroytes emergency action plans emergency assessment equalizing exposure injuries flexible tubing health hospital humidity immersion pulmonary edema (IPE join DAN marine pathogens medical procedures medical risk assesment mucous membranes nasal steroids nasal newdivers nitrogen bubbles off-gassed operating theatre outgas pain plasters post dive preserve rebreather mask rebreathers risk areas saturation scissors scuba equipment scuba single use sinus infections strength tecnical diver thermal protection training trimix unified standards warmers water quality