The main reason that earplugs are worn while surfing is to prevent exostosis, which is commonly referred to as surfer's ear. This is a condition that results in the ear canal taking on abnormal bone growth. This growth is caused by an exposure to cold water and wind, particularly temperatures under 66 degrees Fahrenheit, or 19 degrees Celsius. Surfers who commonly experience these wind and water conditions live in areas like Europe, Northeast Asia, and North America, although surfers in other areas may experience the same conditions.
Once the abnormal bone growth starts, constriction occurs in the ear canal, resulting in ear wax and water becoming trapped. This will lead to pain, inflammation, balance irregularities, infections, or even hearing loss if left untreated. The symptoms will start out small, but over time they will increase as the ear canal becomes further constricted and blocked. Although surfer's ear can happen at any age, it generally happens around age 30, and it doesn't just affect surfers, as those who perform other prolonged water activities can be susceptible to it.
The only way to successfully treat surfer's ear is to go to a doctor to confirm that condition exists, and then to have surgery to remove the abnormal bone growth from the ear canal. Anesthesia is given to the patient before surgery, and then a micro chisel or drill is used to remove the bone. At least one month is needed to recover from the surgery, and once recovery has been completed patients will have a normal ear canal with no constriction. Surfer's ear will return if earplugs aren't worn, resulting in the need for surgery all over again.
Earplugs that are used for surfing work by blocking water and wind from entering the ear canal during surfing by creating an insulation barrier. The shape and material of the earplugs allows them to be easily placed inside of an ear canal and properly fit without being moved during activities. Earplugs can come in single use and reusable varieties, with reusable earplugs being a bit more comfortable for some, and usually have a band that links them to prevent them from being lost.
Surfing earplugs can come in many sizes and shapes, and there's no way to know for sure which ones will fit your ear perfectly unless you try them out. Some earplugs are adjustable, but for ones that aren't, some trial and error will be needed to get the right fit. Without a proper fit, water and wind will enter the ear canal, resulting in problems related to surfer's ear. The earplugs may also be flushed out of the ears if they don't fit properly. Some earplugs can float, making them easy to find if they're flushed out, but ones that don't may become lost.
As mentioned earlier, the prevention of surfer's ear is a major benefit of using surfing earplugs. The health problems with it are easily avoided by using the earplugs whenever you enter the water. This benefit also makes way for other benefits that some surfers don't even realize. It all comes down to time and convenience.
Surfers can have more time to surf when they wear earplugs. Since surfing in cold temperatures leads to ear problems, surfers who surf in the early morning when there is less sunlight will have a high risk of getting surfer's ear. While wearing earplugs, surfers can continue to head out to the water in the early morning and test their skills, giving them more time to surf in a given day.
Surfing earplugs provide surfers with a great deal of convenience. As the symptoms of surfer's ear get worse, surfers will have trouble dealing with them while surfing. The pain and inflammation may be too great for them to ignore, and it may impact their ability to surf correctly. They may have to stop surfing for a period of time until the symptoms go away, only for them to return later. Not to mention the downtime that surfers face from the surgery to fix surfer's ear. Rather than dealing with these inconveniences that will keep you from surfing, it's better to just buy a pair of earplugs and wear them in the water.
Another great thing about surfing earplugs is that they're fairly affordable. At the very least, they cost less than what you would have to pay for a doctor to remove bones that have abnormally grown in an ear canal. Whether you have insurance or not, the cost of ear surgery is something that no one wants to have on their mind. Some brands cost more than others, but you're likely to find something that will offer your ears the protection they need, while staying within your price range. The cost may increase when other accessories, such as linking bands and carrying cases are included, but these aren't always necessary, as the fit and functionality of the earplugs are more important things to consider when buying.
If you plan on doing any surfing, you should wear a pair of earplugs. They can provide your ears with more comfort by blocking out wind and water, and will prevent you from getting surfer's ear. The cost of getting earplugs is nothing compared tot he cost of not having them, as your ability to hear can suffer greatly without them. All you have to do is find a pair that fits, and you can have the necessary protection to keep your ears working perfectly while you surf.
WANT TO BE ABLE TO HEAR WHILE YOU'RE ON THE WATER? TRY OUR SURFER EAR PLUGS W/WATERPROOF MEMBRANE ALLOWING SOUND, NOT WATER, TO TRAVEL TO YOUR EAR DRUM WITH ONLY A VERY SMALL REDUCTION IN VOLUME.
NRR Range: Our standard Surfer Ear Plugs are solid and block out up to -27 dB of sound, making them a great noise reduction earplug in addition to keeping cold water out of your ear canal. If you want or need to hear while on the water a better option would be our Surfer Ear Plugs w/hearing membrane. Call or email us if you're interested or have more questions.
Please read the terms and conditions prior to completing your purchase. All of our custom ear plugs, earphones, and adapters require an impression to be made of each ear at a licensed Hearing Aid Center or Audiology Clinic. Click here to find out more. Earplug size and colors shown in pictures may not be available for every earplug. Please use the colors in the drop down box to select from the colors available. *Read our 60 day best fit guarantee.
After eight great years in our Capitola location, we're moving to Mid-Town! Our new location is in the Seabright neighborhood of Santa Cruz, near the Sutter Health Physical Therapy Center and Lilian's Italian Restaurant. Call us if you would like instructions.
Our New Santa Cruz Location:
The Listening Stack
1535 Seabright Ave. Ste. 100
Santa Cruz, CA 95062
This will be our new address as of August 22, 2022 and is only for our Capitola location. Our Watsonville location is still at 1484 Freedom Blvd. Our phone number is still (831) 498-9890 so feel free to call us if you have any questions.