Surfer's Ear: protect and prevent with hoodies and ear plugs | Photo: Nils-Erik Bjorholt

Cold water and strong wind conditions may develop "Surfer's Ear" and an increased probability of undergoing surgical operation.


"Surfer's Ear", medically known as external auditory exostosis, is a progressive ear problem that can be prevented to avoid painful infections and unwanted surgeries.

Frequent surfers have higher risks of developing "Surfer's Ear". Chill winds and low temperature waters produce a refrigeration effect within the ear promoting blood to flow to the affected area.

This process causes the growth of abnormal bone in the ear channel. "Surfer's Ear" can come at any age, in any part of the globe. If untreated, the ear canal will be closing and surfers tend to lose their hearing.

Unfortunately, removing the obstructed ear canal bone require general anesthesia. Surgeons make an incision behind the ear to carefully remove the layered bone structure.

Academic studies reveal that 80% of surfers who ride waves in cold conditions develop "Surfer's Ear" after 10 years of water activity or 3000 hours of surfing.

But it is possible to protect and prevent "Surfer's Ear". While it's time, make sure to wear a full protection wetsuit in cold wind and water conditions. Wearing a neoprene hood can really be effective.

The water sports industry has also developed a wide variety of surf plugs with custom moulded ear protections for surfers and all wave riders. These ear plugs are usually made of medical grade silicone and can be cleaned and reused. At the same time, these ear protections do not affect your overall balance while surfing.

Finally, do not forget to dry your ears after a surf session and keep them warm as long as possible. Buy a silicone ear plug protection.