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Extremehorizon Surfing Blog

Extremehorizon surf blog providing: regular surfing news, updates, stories, surf pictures, product reviews, surfer interviews and anything from the world of actions sports which is begging to be blogged!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

The dangers of cold water

Here in the UK its been one of the coldest winters in decades. Based on the East coast we are used to surfing North Sea winter water temps of around 5 C (41F), but when combined with weeks of sub-zero air temps, ice and snow its made it a little fresher than normal!

So this year the issue of "Surfers Ear" is an even bigger consideration. For those who don't know what it is heres some further info.

"Surfers Ear" or to give it, its medical name, OSTEOMIS, is a condition of the ears that can result in severe loss of hearing.

This is how it works - the human body does not like cold water next to the ear drums and, if this occurs over a period of years, will adapt by reducing the size of the ear canal with bony growths. If this condition is not caught the ear canal can completely and permanently close causing ear infections and/or major hearing loss.

Whether they choose to accept it or not, many surfers have this condition in varying degrees. If the condition is advanced then surgery is usually necessary. The surgery involves mechanically removing the bony growths, this is a 3 hour procedure done under general anesthetic. The surgery isnt a 100% gaurentee of fixing the problem, complications, like nerve paralysis can occur and the growth can start all over again

Prevention is definately the way forward and fortunately, this condition is easily avoided by keeping cold water out of the ears and this is best accomplished by wearing ear plugs. It is not vital to keep the ear canal totally dry, but ear plug protection should greatly reduce the volume of water entering the ear.

There are a great range of ear plugs on the market, including natural bees wax, plastic and even custom moulded ones for a perfect fit.

Check out the video clip from Alaska below (not as cold as the North sea, but almost as hardcore :)

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