Survey: Surfer's Ear

TriAthy Swimmers 2018

Dr. Seamus Boyle, ENT SpR at the Ears, Nose and Throat Department at Sligo University Hospital is carrying out the research and is looking for athlete's that spend time in open water to take part in a questionnaire. 

Surfer's Ear

Please see below extract from the questionnaire introduction.

Surfer's Ear or Exostosis are benign bone growths in the ear. It is associated with cold water exposure particularly seen in surfers. An Irish study determined 66% of surfers in Ireland can have these bone growths, 88% of whom were unaware of their diagnosis (Auditory canal exostoses in Irish surfers P. Lennon et al). Surfers are not the only water participants potentially at risk - any person exposed to prolonged cold water exposure may develop Surfers Ear.

A previous study in the UK determined 86% of surfers reported awareness of Surfers Ear (Awareness and attitudes towards external auditory canal exostosis and its preventability in surfers in the UK by S Morris et al). There is paucity in the literature to determine the awareness of Surfers Ear in Irish Kayakers, Triathletes, Open Water Swimmers, sailors and Sub-Aqua participants and attitudes towards ear plugs. The aim is to answer these questions, as well as raising awareness of Surfers Ear and potential preventative measures. This study involves a questionnaire.

No treatment or intervention will be performed in this study. The aim is to gather information on awareness of Surfers Ear and attitudes to ear plug use. All information which is collected about you during the course of the research will be kept strictly confidential.

The study has received Ethical Approval by the Ethics Department at Sligo University Hospital. 


The survey takes approximately three minutes to complete. To take part in the questionnaire, click here.

For further information please contact Seamus Boyle, ENT Spr, Dept. of ENT Sligo University Hospital by email.