Medically known as exostosis of the external auditory canal, “surfer’s ear” is a serious buzz kill caused by repeated exposure to cold water and wind. Cooling of the ear canal stimulates bone growth that narrows the canal and blocks the eardrum. This narrowing traps water and earwax in the canal, often resulting in painful ear infections and hearing loss.
The highest per capita rate of surfer’s ear in the world is found in Santa Cruz due to the cold ocean water, year-round great surfing conditions and the large number of surfers who catch waves in howling offshore conditions there for decades.
Off the Lip Radio Show host, Neil Pearlberg, is taking recommendations from local pro surfer, Nat Young, and getting his ears chizzled as Nat did weeks ago during a break from the World Tour. Yet, before he does, we are going to drill the Doc with questions tonight, LIVE!
Call in with your own questions for Dr. Hetzler, the Michealangelo of the ear canal on KSCO 1080AM radio in the Bay Area from 7-8 PM PST, and watch live from the studio right here on TheSurfChannel.com :
Call in to ask questions from 7-8 PM PST, Tuesday nights: 1-831-479-1080
The skin of the inner ear canal is paper thin and there is no insulating layer between this layer and a deeper layer that stimulates new bone growth. After thousands of hours of exposure to water colder than 68º F, usually without ear plugs or a neoprene hood, bone growth may occur, significantly narrowing the ear canal, trapping water inside, and resulting in painful infections and hearing loss.
Douglas Hetzler, M.D. an ear, nose and throat specialist at the Santa Cruz Medical Clinic of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, is one of a handful of California physicians using a minimally invasive technique to remove such bone growth. He pioneered and perfected a surgical technique to treat “surfer’s ear,” restoring his patients’ hearing & allowing them to return to the sport they love.
The Palo Alto Medical Foundation‘s Dr. Douglas Hetzler, M.D. is considered the Michealangelo of the ear canal – a pioneer with his world famous fix for “surfer’s ear”.
Video by the Palo Alto Medical Foundation
So how can surfers and ocean swimmers avoid surfer’s ear?
“This condition develops over years of exposure to the cold,” Dr. Hetzler said. “I’ve operated on people aged 17 to 85 for this condition, but most surfer’s ear sufferers are in their late thirties. Prevention of the growth of the exostoses is aided by wearing earplugs and/or a neoprene hood when surfing or swimming in the ocean.”
More detailed information of treatment of “surfer’s ear”, here: www.pamfblog.org/2011/11/surfersear-treatment/
Off the Lip Radio Show features legendary surfers and skateboarders in their Santa Cruz, California studio. You can listen in on 1080AM radio in the Bay Area every Tuesday evening starting from 7PM PST. Now, you can watch the YouTube Live stream from inside the studio right here on TheSurfChannel.com!