I love a cold, wet winter. There is something peaceful and satisfying about curling up with a good book in a comfy chair with a hot beverage on a cold wintery day watching all the variations of weather that winter has to offer…right outside the protective, double-paned windows, of course. Watching the weather unfold from inside is one thing. Watching it from outside on the covered porch is another. But having (or choosing) to spend a lot of time in the wet, cold, windy, bone-chilling winter weather can be dreadful for your health and for the health of your ears.
When ears are exposed to cold, wet, windy weather they can, over time, develop what is known as exostosis. According to wikipedia.org, an exostosis (plural: exostoses) is the formation of new bone on the surface of a bone, because of excess calcium forming. Exostoses can cause chronic pain ranging from mild to devastatingly severe, depending on the shape, size, and location of the lesion. Where your ears are concerned, it’s new bone growth in your already small ear canal. Left untreated, the extra bone can continue to form and can completely close off your ear canal. Exostosis can lead to permanent hearing loss.
In this case (like so many others) prevention is so much easier than treatment. The surgery to remove the extra bone requires the surgeon to make an incision behind the hear to carefully remove the layered bone structure. This is the part where I was going to insert a picture of an ear during surgery. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it (lucky you) but I’ll bet you google it yourself.
This condition isn’t limited to people living in extreme winter climates. Today, as I write this, it is December 22nd and it must be 75 degrees outside. The beach is about a half mile away and I would bet money that this morning there were surfers in the water.
Exostosis is also known as surfer’s ear (not be be confused with swimmer’s ear). After about 3000 hours in the cold sea water with the wind off the waves buffeting your ears, you may get exostoses. Your ears will give you warning signals; maybe they’ll hurt, maybe they’ll drain, maybe they won’t hear as well. Heed their warnings. They are trying to tell you something and if you wait too long you won’t be able to hear them….or hear anything. Three thousand hours sounds like a lot (and it is) but if you start surfing with unprotected ears at 10 years old, by the time you are 20 years old, your ears could already be damaged. A little pair of ear plugs can help preserve your hearing.
I’ll admit, surfing earplugs just aren’t as cute as fuzzy earmuffs. But, go ahead…get your style on and protect your ears. In the meantime, if you think you are experiencing hearing loss, give ihearingaids a call. We can do a thorough check of you ears and hearing and, if needed, we can fit you with completely custom hearing instruments. ihearingaids is here for you and your ears!Share This Article: