Surfer’s Ear (Exostoses)
Exostoses are bony growths narrowing the external auditory canal. These bony growths are usually stimulated by exposure to cold water and wind, most commonly seen in surfers (thus the name), regular swimmers and divers.
The commonest symptom is that of water trapping, which can then result in recurrent infections. In most cases care to minimise water exposure, regular microscopic cleaing and the use of alcohol based drops can keep symptoms under control. If this is unsuccessful or when persistent conductive hearing loss occurs surgical removal is indicated.
The otologists at St Vincent’s Hospital are highly skilled in performing this surgery, which is often underrated in terms of its difficulty to achieve an optimal result.