!!!!!!!!!!!!! Middle-ear Surgery !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well Folks,

Found out why I had the spins on Saturday morn.

By Sunday morning, I woke up with very bad vertigo,and could barely right myself in an up position.

I then decided to take a hot shower thinking that should help…NO…it made it worse !

By noon I was a wreak and decided to ly down for a nap,before heading down the road to Stingray’s place.

I woke up about 1430 and was just barely alive…sweaty/hot/couldn’t stand-up,cramping into a ball,blinded,etc.My wife(bless her heart got me some tylenol and water)I kept mumbling to her, that I had to go to Carlsbad by 5…She took one look at me and said you ain’t goin’no where buddy !She took my temp and it regestered at 105.4f…No wonder I felt like death…She poured me into the suburb,and to the ER we went(where nurses like me make very bad patients!).To my suprize ,The ER doc looking in my right ear and stepped back and gaspped…stating,“That’s the worst ear infection I have ever seen,Do you feel any pain?” My reply,"No,none at all."He prescribed AB therapy and said my rt.ear canal is completely closed.He said I need surgery…LOVELY ! …By 1800…er …1830…I called Ray to tell him I had to cancel my visit…it was like pulling my own teeth, just to get the nerve up to call him…I felt like I let him down +++ I missed so many friends Like MarkSDD.Sorry guys,I’ll make it up to you !

How many of you out there have had a ear canal surgery?

I’m not looking forward to this at all.

But if I don’t get this done I’ll be right back here…And I’d rather shoot myself that go thru that again.

So,What are my options? I know of two types of ear canal surgery…What’s your stories?..please tell me…inquiring minds want to know…lol…ouch!

I’m sure surfing river doesn’t help either…lol…ouch…it hurts now !


We missed you Herb. Take care of that ear. We’ll try to get together next month.


Hey Herb,

Sorry to hear…ok…that was not meant as a pun.

I don’t have experience with having the surgery myself…but I was responsible for assisting in the recovery of an ex(when we were still together) after she had inner ear reconstruction.

I am happy to share that experience with you if you want.

Feel better

Well Herb,

That’s one more thing we’ll have in common!! Had the surgery done about 20 yrs ago. You’ll be amazed how well you will hear, post op. Infection caused by water trapped in the canal, due to exostoses. It is caused by exposure to cold water. Infection can can be prevented by introducing a 50/50 mixture of alcohol and vinegar into the canal, after surfing. It creates a hostile enviroment for bacteria, and fungi. You’ll have to keep out of the water for a bit. That’s about all though. Good luck with it.

Hey Herb - after a white water river trip some years back I had an ear infection that was really nasty and hurt like hell. Until my eardrum burst from the inside out, that is. At least they spotted yours in time to work on it!

Good luck at the docs,



Herb…be nice to the nurses :wink: hopefully they can take of your infection quickly.

EH? Can you please speak up?

Howzit Bill, Back in late 70’s I had almost totally closed ear canals and infections and my doctor wished he had the camera so he could take pics and put them in medical journal. I started flushing my ears almost every night with water hot enough to melt any wax but not burn my ear canals. Then I would flush them with cold water to get the melted wax out. Then would use the 50/50 alcohol and vingar, did this almost every night for over 10 years and ears seemed fine. Back in 1990 I had a hearing test and my hearing was exceptional. Then when I went in for the biopsy in Jan that found my cancer it was the same doctor who had seen my ears in late 70’s and told him that. Well he looked in my ears and said he could see the scarring from the bony growths but there were no gtowths and ear canals are totally clear. The vinegar eats away the calcium in the bony growths and the alcohol dries the canals. Never had the operation and nowhave great ears due to diligent maintence and still use the 50/50 mix today. Have a friend that has had the operations and the growths are back and doctor says he can’t have any more operations so i told him to start doing what I did and he started the next day which was about 2 weeks ago. Only can hope it helps and gets the same results I did. That stuff they sell at the pharmacy for surfers ear doesn’t work near as good as the 50/50 mix and all surfers should use it, it certainly won’t hurt their ears. Just a successful story to pass on to my fellow friends here on Swaylocks. Aloha,Kokua

Well all - I’m a two time member in the club, and just found out they want me back for a repeat performance…

I was using alch to flush water and dry… I think I will try the vinegar for a while and see what happens.

Herb - I had 'em ground out both ways: Through the ear - straight in, cut the skin away, grind the bone, flap the skin back, and pack it with stuff for a month for the skin to grow… Out of the water min. 6 weeks… Next - Behind the ear - they cut the ear away from the scull from behind, this keeps the ear canal in tact - suppose to take a couple weeks off the healing… Took maybe a week off, but I had problems with the scare behind my ear, hard painful spots, achy, itchy, etc., for many months after… Didn’t seem worth it to me.
I don’t know what I’ll do this time… Didn’t get a sick as you, but it first showed up as a low level inner ear infection due to a cold/flu thing… but lasted a month, in spite of several naturopathic treatments, and two courses of antibiotics…

So - Don’t worry too much, sounds like you’ll have to take care of it sooner than later.

DAMN!!! Haven’t ANY of you guys heard of DOC’S Pro Plugs???

$10 now will save you tons of $$$$ in hospital bills and MONTHS out of the water!!!

OH wait…of course you haven’t “heard”…you’re all DEAF from ear infections!!! LOL

Seriously though…get the plugs…they will keep you in the WATER and out of SURGERY.

Just my 1.874 centavos

Hey Herb,

I had my left ear drilled out in Sept. 08, so it wasn’t that long ago. I would say if they are just opening up the ear canal a canalplasty you should be back in the water in about 2-3 weeks. The surgery was an in and out thing. Oh and make sure your wife or whoever grabs the pain killers early for you. About 2 hours after surgery you are going to have a sharp pain once the pain killer they give while you were under wears off. The day of surgery had minor pain, slept through the night fine, took the next day off work but felt pretty normal. Then went back to work the following day no problems. They shove a dense cotton ball thing way inside your ear so don’t expect to hear very well for a few days. The follow up with the doctor they will take out the cotton ball thing and whooooooosh all this cool air and sound fills your ear.

Oh and in response to synergy todd, no one told me that my freaking ear canal was going to grow shut from surfing and cold water exposure. It’s not like it is posted at the beach or something. I had no clue what was going on, but after getting water trapped in my ear for about 3 days went to the doctor then off to surgery to get my ear drilled.

The surgery shouldn’t be too bad Herb, but now I wear ear plugs to keep the water out. Also if you get DOC’s plugs they don’t keep all the water out some of the water gets in but it is trapped and the water gets warmed by your body temp. so your canal isn’t exposed to cold water constantly which causes the bony growth.


Trust me Todd - I’m going through the stages of grief…

Are you kidding… I did a report on “Surfers ear,” in high school back in '79/'80…

I guess I’ve always thought the hood would be good enough - I reckoned the years I spent in So./Central Cal, many w/no hood, were the culprit the first time, and since moving back up north I always wear my hood, and use rubbing alcohol to “rinse” 'em… The times I tried plugs, even Doc, back in the early '80’s, the hurt, sound and feel weird… but now… I’ll have to make piece with something, plugs, surgery in another 15 years, move to the tropics…

I can sympathize with you Herb. I am sitting here with middle ear infections in both ears. I can only hear about fifty percent out of my right ear, nothing out of my left, no surgery though. I am just glad the pain went away. I wish you a speedy recovery.

Aloha, Alex

Hey Taylor

My first pick would be “move to the tropics” but in leu of that…

I am quite sure that Doc has improved his plugs since the 80’s.

Yes they feel wierd…But it’s far less than that feeling like somebody is jabbing a metal straw in your ear and sucking your brains out.(ask me how I know that…go ahead…ask me LOL)

Yes they make things sound wierd…but it doesn’t sound anywhere near as wierd as hearing like you are listening to everything through a blown stereo speaker

There are many options now for ear protection for us. Doc’s are the only ones I know of that have a vent in them to release internal pressure and assist in hearing while you are out in the lineup though.

They come in a bunch of sizes.

I discovered a little trick with them as well…take a little neosporin or something similar and rub the earpiece with it just before you head out.

This helps “seat” the plug and give you a bit better seal(not that kind resinhead…don’t get excited) it also gives you a little bit of bacterial protection just in case.

Since you did that report, I’m sure you also know it’s not always just about trapped water…it can also have to do with bacteria, germs, toxins, and as Manaya stated…even temperature can play a role.

Having been in the music industry most of my adult life…my hearing is precious to me…and I very nearly had the same thing happen in one of my ears. Too many surfers suffer this fate. Some that I know have actually lost some if not all of their hearing, and it is 100% preventable!

You know what they say…“An ounce of prevention…is better than MONTHS of no surfing!” LOL

Hey Manaya33! No offense. As most of these guys will attest…Just about everything I post has twist of humor to it. Rarely(if ever) am I totaly serious. So…please forgive if I ruffled your feathers.


No problem…

It is just one of those things that no one really talks about unless you read forums like this.

So we are cool feathers are unruffled :slight_smile:


I’m still abit congested…tempy,not a good time to confront me in person.My tinitus seems to be kicking in loudly,which adds to my edgyness.

Plugs,yeah,I got them…it was too late by the time I started using them or skullcaps.

While you sleep,

I work,

It’s unheated,or no airconditioning.It at the base of a mountain at 2000ft alt.and gets cold during the winter,not artic cold but at or below freezing outdoors,and indoors below 60f.Couple this with having to stay awake,not make any noise,not even clipping your nails,and a limited range of movement and avalible light to do my work…(for over 7yrs here,and 24 total)…I’m sure that this had more to due with finishing off my rt ear canal.

My problems started early in life, loud music,and firearms,etc.desn’t help the problem either.

BTW: It doesn’t have to be coldwater exposure,just cold…like the early morning hunts or fishing trips my dad and I use to take on a weekly basis.

Or hi-altitude sky-diving.

I’m going to try Kokua’s method first,if I see no progress in that… then Surgery with be a serious concideration.

I have witnessed the surgeries firsthand ,nice thing about being a nurse,I guess.

I wish everyone here a great evening,thanks guys !


Howzit Herb, You are so right it’s not the cold water it’s the cold wind and just plain coldness that causes it, lots of fishermen get it also.Aloha,Koua

Here’s another thing you may never have heard. My ear/nose/throat doctor said never to use a Q-Tip (cotton swab) immediately after surfing, as there may be sand and salt crystals in your ears, and those basically turn the Q-Tip into a little chunk of sandpaper - they can scratch open tiny cuts in your ear canal, which then can easily get infected.

Who knew? Anyways, my rate of ear infections went down after getting that advice… ear drops, yes, Q-tips, no.

You can stick anything in your ear canal Keith !

As long as it’s bigger than your elbow !



Howzit Keith, Kno all about the q-tip and even after surfing you shouldn't use one, Herb said like it is never put anything smller than you elbow in your ear. Aloha,Kokua