Many people who surf on a regular basis will be aware of surfer's ear. Some people take appropriate precautions in order to prevent it but most do not go far enough. The condition is caused by the chilling effect of the wind and the sea water and hard mastoid prominence behind it. The body responds by growing small bony lumps around the ear.
This gradually causes progressive deafness and an increased risk of infections due to retained dirt and moisture in the canal. Surfers need to wear ear plugs on a regular basis, which many are aware of but it is also necessary to wear a cap in order to keep the mastoid warm and dry also. Many are aware of the requirement for ear plugs but most are not aware of the necessity to wear a surfing cap also.
Without the surfing hat the cold wind and water can still contact the bony lump behind the ear, resulting in the development of the problem. Many people are under the impression that if they are surfing in warm waters, tropical waters or during the summer that they do not need to protect themselves. This is not true; the effect of evaporation still chills the skin, resulting in formation of the hard outgrowths.
Treatment for the condition consists of the chiselling or drilling away of bone. The skin around it is cut and the bone underneath removed. This is a fairly minor procedure, performed as a day case but many people find it uncomfortable. Having had the procedure, this does not protect against formation of new bony lumps in the future and preventative measures must still be taken in order to avoid the disorder, otherwise deafness and recurrent infections may still occur.
Summary. Every surfer should wear surfing ear plugs and a cap whenever they go in the water.