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Surfer’s Ear | What is it? How do we prevent it?

Surfers and Swimmers may suffer from certain ear conditions and issues such as a build-up of sand, dry shedding skin, ear wax, or water trapped behind ear wax. Most of these issues can be resolved or maintained with microsuction and an appropriate management regime.


However, a more complicated condition generally found within surfers is exostoses, also known as surfer’s ear. It is generally caused by irritation of the bone by water and wind may facilitate the abnormal growth.

As the exostoses develops, it narrows the ear canal – causing hearing loss and water or sand trapping, therefore increasing risk of infection. In severe cases, bony growths can be removed surgically.

What is the difference between Surfer’s Ear and Swimmer’s Ear?

Surfer’s Ear is bone growth that occurs in the ear canal as a response to repeated exposure to cold water – the development of this condition is dependent of on the frequency of time spent in cold water and wind, and the temperature these may be. Whereas Swimmer’s Ear is a bacterial or fungal infection in the ear canal which usually causes swelling and pain. Ear infections are treated with medicated ear drops/antibiotics and microsuction.

How can Surfer’s Ear be prevented?

Wearing ear plugs will help to block the cold water and wind out of the ear canals – we stock the best ear plugs on the market to protect your ears in the water:

SurfEars 3.0

Let sound in, keep water out. SurfEars come with four different sizes in each pack, therefore will fit any ear – they are also suitable for those already with exostoses. Allowing sound to enter the ears aids with balance whilst riding a wave.


Protect your ears, hear all around you. SEKI Surf are a one size fits all water blocking plug. The soft plug is suitable for those already with exostoses, whilst the bright green colour ensures they are harder to lose in the surf.

Doc’s Pro Plugs

These ear plugs may be used to block water from the ears and block out some sound – ideal for musicians, surfers, swimmers, and divers.

All Ear Plugs can be purchased in-store or shop online.



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