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I’m sure most of you have heard about surfer’s ear and that you should wear earplugs when kayaking or doing any watersports for that matter. Like me, you probably disregarded most of the comments and continued enjoying your time on the water without protection.

Well, I’ve had a wake-up call… I used to be ear-infection free for about 8 years of kayaking. Sweet! I didn’t like wearing earplugs and they fell out all the time anyway when doing freestyle. In the last 2 years this has drastically changed. It started with about 1 to 2 ear infections a year. Nothing major, take some medicines, a few eardrops and you’re good to go.

The struggles of being DEAF for over 5 months and HOW TO AVOID it

Eventually this led to having an ear infection nearly every month. I didn’t think much of it, as I didn’t experience any pain. My ear channel would swell up for a couple of days, after that it’d be all fine.

Eventually I decided to go to a specialist to check out what was happening and why I’m having so many ear infections. The news wasn’t good. According to the specialist I have about 15% left of my right ear channel and 20% of my left ear channel. Due to all the time on and under the water I’d had developed a major case of surfer’s ear. He was surprised to find out my hearing wasn’t majorly affected so far.

The struggles of being DEAF for over 5 months and HOW TO AVOID it

For those who don’t know what surfer’s ear is, have a look at the picture in the article. Basically, the ear channel is trying to protect itself from the cold water and wind. It’s doing this by growing small stumbs of bone in your ear channel to prevent water from getting in. Unfortunately, this goes hand in hand with having more ear infections and eventually hearing loss. The water that goes into the ear channel becomes trapped and at that point it gets infected.

Aha, mystery solved. So, what now I asked. Well, we’ll need to cut away the bone in the ear to clear the ear channel. I can assure you that doesn’t sound very comforting… As my hearing (surprisingly) wasn’t affected by the narrowing ear channel, I decided to hold off on an operation and to spend my time and money finding a set of earplugs that would work for me. I’ve went through about 5 different kinds of earplugs, I all hated them and they would fall out constantly…

Resulting in the fact that I wouldn’t be very committed to wearing them, this resulted in complete hearing loss in about mid-July. Not cool, I’d take antibiotics, use ear drops, nothing would work and eventually my eardrum burst. Auwtch… Resulting in green snot coming out of my ears for the next 5 months, yey!

Tried lots of different things hoping that it would solve the problem without keeping me off the water, eventually I made my piece with the fact that I would be deaf on my right ear for the rest of my life. Not the most fun conclusion…

Luckily there was light at the end of the tunnel. Since the beginning of November there have been small timeframes of about 2-3min that I could hear again, maybe there was hope? I guess there was, now writing this I can happily say I’ve got about 90-95% of my hearing back!

So how can you avoid hearing loss?
During my time being deaf I’ve found a pair of earplugs that does the job for me and are hands down my most favorite ear plugs ever owned.

The struggles of being DEAF for over 5 months and HOW TO AVOID it

I can recommend them a 100%, they keep about 99% of the water out. Even when running big volume or flipping around in a big wave or hole, they stay put. If you’ve tried earplugs that don’t stay in place I recon you can relate to how annoying it is to have them dangling around your helmet.

The different sized tips and wings make it possible to customize the SurfEars to your ears and give you the best possible protection. This way you can make sure they fit well and are comfortable to wear on the water all day. I’ve worn mine for long periods of time on the river and they have been super comfortable! Another major upside from SurfEars is the fact that they let about 60%-70% of the sound through, so you are not deafened by them. A huge gamechanger when running hard whitewater with your friends where communication is key.

The struggles of being DEAF for over 5 months and HOW TO AVOID it

Using the SurfEars 3.0 together with a post training treatment, my ears have been bliss since!
Go check them out at:

There are a lot of articles out there talking about a mixture of oil and vinegar, etc. to clean out your ears after paddling. I personally haven’t tried this yet, but I’ve found another great solution. Audispray, this is basically a microbiological saltwater solution. It helps to clean out all the excess dirt in your ears including the bacteria. So, I highly recommend using this after every session on the water.

Have you experienced hearing loss due to surfer’s ear? What where your solutions or what do you like to do to prevent it? Have you tried the SurfEars3.0? Let us know in the comments below!