Chronic cold water exposure to the ear results in a reactive osteitis (inflammation) of the bone in the ear canal which causes new bone formation. Over time, this results in narrowing of the ear canal with bony growths obstructing the ear canal. This is most commonly seen in surfers and cold water swimmers. Exostosis can result in water trapping in the ear canal and resultant ear canal infections. Exostoses can also result in complete occlusion of the ear canal resulting in a significant conductive hearing loss. Exostoses are surgically treated with an outpatient procedure known as canalplasty.
We also offer custom ear plugs for surfers and swimmers to prevent worsening of existing exostosis or for use after canalplasty.