Ear Infections and Surfers Ear (Exostosis)
Tinnitus can be from many causes including excessive exposure to loud sound, hearing loss of any cause, allergies, caffeine, stress or ear tumor. While it can go along with an infection, it's not the main symptom.
If tinnitus is present consistently in just one ear for more than 3 months, get checked by an ENT doctor or ear doctor, called an otologist.
Surfers' ear infections are usually painful, associated with plugging or hearing loss and may have drainage ranging from clear to white, yellow, green or brown. There is often an unpleasant odor.
Bone growths in the outer ear canal called exostoses have become known as "surfers ears." It's mother nature's attempt to protect the ear drum from repeated rush of cold water against it. It takes years, even decades of regular surfing for them to reach the level of creating repeated infections by trapping unclear water, sand and shed skin cells from the ear itself. Usually it's much worse on the ear that receives more wind and
flushes of cold water. That's usually the ear on the side a surfer most
often turns into a wave or falls on, depending on technique and which foot is forward.
In experienced hands, the surgical removal is now an outpatient procedure through the ear canal only. A permanent removal is done
with quiet diamond burs and lasers. Done properly they don't grow back
to a symptomatic level, at least in 25 years.
Surfers, please no Q tips in the ears!