Surfer's ear

Case contributed by Dr Mahomed A. Osman


Hearing loss. Avid surfer.

Patient Data

Age: 40 years
Gender: Male

There are bilateral exostoses of the external auditory canals, more pronounced on the right. There is resultant narrowing of the right external auditory canal.

Case Discussion

Surfer's ear is a condition characterized by exostoses of the external auditory canals that results from prolonged exposure to cold water and wind. It is a slowly progressive condition that is benign until the canals are narrowed to the point where recurrent infections can occur due to trapped debris or earwax build up. Hearing loss may also occur when the disease is severe. It is commonly seen in surfers, and people engaging in other sporting activities where exposure of the ears to cold water and wind is common, for example kayaking, sailing or diving.

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