Exostosis (Surfer's Ear)

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*Stu

Exostosis (Surfer's Ear)

Post by *Stu » Thu Jun 30, 2005 11:31 am

The ear specialist is rather enthusiastic about the state of my ears. Apparently I have the best example of Surfer's Ear he has ever seen. He also has an enthusiasm for gadets and needless purchase of expensive toys for the NHS. The result of which are some interesting photos of the inside of my ears.

Image

Apparently the 3 "bumps" shouldn't be there (large one on the left, small pointy one top right and medium one bottom right) and the ear canal should be circular and nearly fill the frame.

Unfortunately I don't share the enthusiasm. The doc is probably buying a new black and decker as I type.

Good advert for ear plugs?

Stu

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Randy Fandango
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Post by Randy Fandango » Thu Jun 30, 2005 11:53 am

I have it badly in both ears and as a result spent ages with chronic ear infections in both ears (think trench foot in the ear the doctor said -- trench ear if you will).
I now use swim ear (alcohol droplets you squirt in your ear to mix with the water trapped there to help it evaporate) and have less problems but I wish I'd started wearing ear plugs all those years back when I started mucking about in the water.
I've put off having the operations because I didn't fancy spending 3-4 months unable to go in the water. Can anyone out there with any experience tell me if this is accurate? Would I definitely have to spend this long off the water?
Added to which this week my doctor (had to see him this week with, guess what, an ear infection!) said that there's a high risk of the problem re-occurring anyway.
Giles

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James F
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Post by James F » Thu Jun 30, 2005 12:00 pm

Most (circa 80%) of the 30 year old (ish) regular freestyle paddlers that I know now have ear problems and use some type of ear protection. By contrast most of the 20 year old (ish) regular freestyle paddlers that I know don't have too many ear problem and don't wear any ear protection. Someone once said something about the sands of time running out...

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Randy Fandango
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Post by Randy Fandango » Thu Jun 30, 2005 12:02 pm

James, I seem to remember you posting up something on this before: "When good ears go bad" I think.
Did you have the ops in the end? What was the outcome?

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James F
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Post by James F » Thu Jun 30, 2005 12:07 pm

I think the article is still here on ukrgb somewhere. The outcome was that I went to the local hospital and was fitted for "Swimmers Plugs". These completely block all water from entering the ear canal and as a result my exostomas have stabilised and I no longer suffer from ear infections...

Well, apart from last week I couldn't find my ear plugs so threw caution to the wind and went to Boulters without them. Three days of constant pain/deafness in both ears and a visit to the doctor for antibiotics was my reward.

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Randy Fandango
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Post by Randy Fandango » Thu Jun 30, 2005 12:13 pm

Yes, my latest punishment was for going to Chertsey last week and being foolish enough to put my head under water once or twice.
I knew I should have headed somewhere nice and clean like Nottingham....

*Stu

Post by *Stu » Thu Jun 30, 2005 12:20 pm

I am in the same situation as James. I have several sets of swimmers plugs courtesy of the NHS and haven't had an infection for about a year now. It took about 2 years for the infections to stop being a regular occurance and for the ears to stop filling with gunge. My ears were given the all clear (appart from the exstosis) this week so I don't have to be de-gunged again.

There is little point having the growths removed until you stop paddling regularly as they will come back. As the specialist said - you wouldn't do a nose job on a rugby player until they stopped playing rubgy.

Stu

PS. If you have it as bad as I do, antibiotic drops won't help. The liquid can't get far enough into the canal as an air pocket forms. You need a spray - can't remember what its called.

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meatballs
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Post by meatballs » Thu Jun 30, 2005 12:31 pm

I've been looking for some ear plugs that dont actually enter your ear canal, as they really dont appeal to me. Ive seen some that fit in the curves of your ear and block the hole off, but cant find them anywhere :(

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Post by Liquid Porn » Thu Jun 30, 2005 10:40 pm


expedted
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Post by expedted » Thu Jun 30, 2005 11:04 pm

Luvly ears,
& sands of time, but is it inevitable, curse of freestyle, upsidedown paddlers. or what can folk do to prevent it?

A Different James

Post by A Different James » Fri Jul 01, 2005 2:22 am

I actually got my first set of ear plugs today having come accross the "When Good Ears Go Bad" just the other day. Before that I wasn't at all aware of this problem despite experiencing poor drainage, itching and some sensitivity when I was swimming twice a day a couple of months ago. I'm only 19 and wasn't in the water at all before that so perhaps it was something else but I'm not taking any chances. SoI grabbed a £3 pair of Zoggs from the local leisure centre and I'll get some proper plugs made up after an appointment next week. No way am I going to damage my hearing when I can do something about it.

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Post by Westy » Fri Jul 01, 2005 8:30 am

I had ear problems earlier this year, and read horror stories about surfer's ear. Once George at WWTCC showed me the scar on his ear I quickly bought a set of Doc's Pro ear-plugs. They're easy to use and fairly comfortable, and vented so that you can hear albeit a bit muffled but no water gets in. The ENT I saw said I don't have to wear them all the time, perhaps 2 out of 3 paddles, and more so in the winter, but I suspect my ears aren't as bad as those documented above. Doc's Pros worth a try at £12 a set.

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James F
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Post by James F » Fri Jul 01, 2005 9:33 am

George, after growing some strategically disadvantageous exostomas (for his future ability to hear anything), had to have his ears mostly cut off and flapped forward so that they could get the drill in, then sown back on. Luv-er-ly.

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Post by bugs bunny » Fri Jul 01, 2005 11:31 am

Are earwigs effective in preventing Surfer's ear by stopping the rush of water into the ear or is it only earplugs that are effective?

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Post by ol » Fri Jul 01, 2005 6:22 pm

bugs bunny wrote:Are earwigs effective in preventing Surfer's ear by stopping the rush of water into the ear or is it only earplugs that are effective?
Earwigs are a little small for most people, and if you use live ones, they tend to walk away if left unattended, earplugs are far better.



Sorry...........
OL

hj

Post by hj » Fri Jul 01, 2005 11:07 pm

Pardon??


Sorry...

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Post by Simon Westgarth » Sat Jul 02, 2005 9:31 am

*Stu wrote:I have several sets of swimmers plugs courtesy of the NHS and haven't had an infection for about a year now. It took about 2 years for the infections to stop being a regular occurance and for the ears to stop filling with gunge. My ears were given the all clear (appart from the exstosis) this week so I don't have to be de-gunged again.

There is little point having the growths removed until you stop paddling regularly as they will come back. As the specialist said - you wouldn't do a nose job on a rugby player until they stopped playing rubgy.
This situation is pretty much the same for myself. Once I had the swimmer's plugs made, the boney growths stopped growing. They can once be removed by operation. I have had my left ear done, by the specialist in Bristol's ENT clinic. This chap is one of the UK's leading experts on this kind of operational procedure and I would highly recommend that you went to a place that does this operation regularly.

No earwig has no protection from surfer's ear boney growth as the water still get into your ear canal once you need to roll. Custom fitted ear plugs are the best solution, not pro plug, etc

Good luck

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Post by meatballs » Sat Jul 02, 2005 5:46 pm

Earwigs are advertised or its on some literature somewhere that they help prevent surfers ear. Its supposidly the sudden rush of cold water into the ear which causes surfers ear, whereas a slow entry doesn't. I'd still go with earplugs.

Paul Shep

Operation Advice etc

Post by Paul Shep » Mon Jul 04, 2005 7:52 pm

My ears are pretty bad too. 25yrs old and boating hard since 14 or so.

It's good to see other experienced boaters like James F and Paddy Westgarth saying it how it is: Surfers Ear sucks, plugs stop it, the better the plugs, the better the protection. Simple. Get some before it's too late.

Docs still let water in, so do many other 'over the counter' plugs, so do earwigs. As such, these are not as good as prescription plugs.
The second strong plus for prescription plugs is that as they let NO water in, I find my balance is better than with no/cheap plugs that let some in.
2ND plus is they fit really well and don't go into the canal, just cover it so are comfortable.
Strongly recommended.

OK onto operation advice:

My brother (also 25) had his drilled out last winter. The same surgeon offered us both the op after constant infections etc. I went for plugs and waited, Mark had his done then. Here's the score.

1 find a good surgeon who has done it before. (A mate in N.Wales saw his local specialist who said it is done like George's was, by cutting the back of the ear and folding forwards. This is the OLD method. A good surgeon can do MOST ears with no cutting (or a tiny bit near the canal). My mate then quickly got referred to the doc in Nottingham who did my bro's and many other boaters all successfully without really cutting.
For this doc's contact details, it could be worth contacting Mark Shep who works for PEAKUK.

2 Downtime is approx 8-12 weeks off the water but can be quicker. NO pain after just a little discomfort and about 1 wk off work. Get it done in your off season (depends if you creek/play etc).

I lost my plugs last week, went out with my old Doc's i use on rivers and not playing and got an infection next day.

About to order 2 sets of prescription plugs from my local audiology clinic via GP.

Just do it, before all your music sounds crap.

Shep

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Post by Westy » Tue Jul 05, 2005 9:00 am

How much do presription plugs cost? Can your GP prescribe them, or must it be an ENT doc?

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Post by James Hartley » Tue Jul 05, 2005 9:59 am

Excuse my ignorance, but why don't professional swimmers suffer from this complaint? surely they spend more time with their heads underwater.


On the note of earplugs, www.swimshop.co.uk sell them as a cheaper alternative than perscription ones, can't comment on how good they are I'm afraid.
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Post by Bod » Tue Jul 05, 2005 10:17 am

James

Take a look at Para 2 of your post to see if you have answered your question in Para 1.

Loads of swimmers do wear ear plugs.

Bod

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Post by meatballs » Tue Jul 05, 2005 11:46 am

James Hartley wrote:Excuse my ignorance, but why don't professional swimmers suffer from this complaint? surely they spend more time with their heads underwater.
The water is warm. Swimmers do also wear skullcaps, dunno how much it prevents it. I expect cold water swimmers take the same precautions we do with ear plugs.

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Post by James Hartley » Tue Jul 05, 2005 12:24 pm

Meatballs, the swimming cap used by swimmers is not to prevent water entering ears, or even to keep the hair dry, but is to prevent viscous drag, or at least reduce it when swimming.
Bod, I know a lot of swimmers, some first rate, I've coached/taught lots of people, and been a swimmer myself for a few years, and as such I have never met anyone who wore earplugs to prevent surfers ear. Nor have the ASA (which is the governing body) to my knowledge ever released any information concerning it. The only people I knew who wore them were children you just didn't like water, or had grommits in (or thats the excuse they gave ;-) )
Is this caused purely by cold water?
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paul Shep

Post by paul Shep » Tue Jul 05, 2005 3:45 pm

Swimmers do wear earplugs to prvent 'Swimmers Ear' as opposed to surfers ear. The difference is due to water temp and submersion. Kayakers get bony growths (exostoses), swimmers get fleshy (grissle) ones that are easier to treat and not as bad. The reason why you don't see em in the UK is because most people swim in indoor heated pools. Outdoor swimmers do wear them, especially abroad.

My prescripion plugs were called swim-moulds by the audiology clinic. They cost £30 for 2 sets but you may get them non NHS for cheaper. Not sure how though. I got mine by going to GP then ENT specialist. Friends explaied surfer's ear to their GP (who will not know much) and then explained too that they did not feel ready to be operated on yet so as such, could they be referred to audiology without going to ENT needlessly as earplugs are the next best option to surgery. GP said YES.

chris bainbridge nli

Post by chris bainbridge nli » Tue Jul 05, 2005 6:19 pm

Hi

I believe most ent/ audiology departments will do this quite happily and that you do not need a GP referral for it. Just phone up to check a time and tell them what you want. I believe in Derby they are now £40.

Chris

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Vacuum Clean your ears

Post by Simon » Wed Jul 06, 2005 6:28 pm

There is a less serious procedure for recurrent ear infections if you don't want to attack them with a Black and Decker.

Most ENT departments will offer "microsuction", which is basically sucking out all the wax and infected gunk from your ear with a very small vacuum cleaner probe that fits into your ear.

In a normal ear the wax that is continuously formed slowly drips out of the end of the ear canal. If you have exostoses the wax builds up in the ear and cannot drain out and so becomes septic. Microsuction (normally about once every three months) removes it and prevents ear infections without the need for surgury.

It's the option that works for me. I am not keen on the drilling option, because various nerves run close to the ear canal. If the drill is slightly displaced you can damage a nerve and end up with facial paralysis, eye lid droop, damaged ability to eat chew/drink etc. I too went to a Nottingham ENT surgeon (it helped that at the time I was a nurse in the Nottingham ENT Department) and was strongly advised to try regular microsuction first, and only go for surgery if that did not work.

Simon

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Post by ChrisMac » Thu Jul 07, 2005 12:03 am

I agree with Shep James and Simon. Proper prescription plugs are the way forward. I have surfers ear in both ears and my earplugs are currently preventing the need for an appointment with the drill. They cost about £20 on the NHS and are probably the best £20 you will ever spend on boating kit.

SaRah .

Post by SaRah . » Thu Jul 07, 2005 6:33 pm

Its not just a build up of wax in your ears that causes infections (wax build up traps bacteria = infection). If your getting water in your ears frequently it disrupts the wax and natural bacteria of the ear meaning the very unfriendly bacteria take over and give you an ear infection!

Ear plugs have got to be the way forwards!

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Post by Mark R » Thu Jul 07, 2005 9:40 pm

SaRah . wrote: the very unfriendly bacteria take over
Are these the same 'unfriendly bacteria' which somehow make nerds irresistable to improbably attractive women?


Question - how can you tell if you have mild exotosis?
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