Exostosis is a term used to describe bone abnormally growing upon bone. The condition, Surfer’s ear is an exostosis or abnormal bone growth(s) in the external auditory canal believed to stem from overexposure to cold water and wind. The lumps of bony growth can constrict the ear canal.
Most exostoses of the ear are mild, not becoming large enough to be symptomatic. More severe cases can cause recurring ear infections, conductive hearing loss, or cholesteatoma. Since the condition is progressive, it is important to take precautions to prevent it from worsening. If the condition progresses to the point of being problematic, treatment may involve surgical excision by our neurotologists.
Anyone regularly active in water sports for many years is at risk for developing auditory canal exostosis. To prevent their occurrence, proper protection should be worn while engaged in water sports.