Submitted by juegasiempre on Thu, 05/07/2020 - 09:34
I've had cuts, grazes and bruises from surfing but nothing other then that until the other day. I pulled into a closeout barrel and popped out the back. But I must not have lead with my head enough and the wave slapped my right ear really hard. Came out straight away as something didn't feel right.
Anyways, the next day it felt better so out I went. As I was paddling out, when I got near the back I had to duckdive a wave. When that happened I came up, the vision was flailing around like a metronome, felt instantly in extreme pain and dry reaching. Went straight in, to the doctor, bingo bango, I have a perforated eardrum and it's infected :(
Looking online it seems to go from no big issue, just blue tac your ear to, it never heals. It's been a week and the antiobiotics helped heaps. I'm looking to get back in the water ASAP but not at the expense of my health. I have a smoothstar and a normal skatey to keep me busy but am looking for experiences from anyone that's dealt with this injury successfully and any wisdom you guys can bestow.
Thanks in advance.
Ouch! Sorry to hear mate. I'm sure there'll be someone here who's had a similar experience.
juegasiempre, I perforated my ear drum quite badly and it took 5-6 months for it to heal itself. I couldn't really get it wet during that period. Had tinnitus for a couple of years after too.
Take it easy for a while and maybe try swimming first (with your ear plugged and a cap or two on) to see how you go before getting back to surfing.
I did mine years back hitting the sand. It became grossly infected within a day or two. I went to an ear nose and throat guy, I highly recommend this.
I was told to keep it dry for 6 weeks and go back to the doc to reassess. During the 6 weeks no water at all in the ear. No surfing. While showering I put cotton ball in my ear and covered it with Vaseline. I took no chances and managed to keep it dry for 6 weeks. Was given the all clear. I was mid 20s then. Age will slow the healing as will getting water in the ear and an operation may be needed. Keep it dry!
I've broken my eardrum a few times, but only once did the middle ear infect. From what I can gather, infections associated with perforated eardrums aren't common, though you'd want to pay close attention to it.
Last couple of times I've busted it, I've just sat out for a few weeks, then when I've thought it was OK used Blu-Tac and sealed my ear properly. Kept using Blu-Tac till I was sure it was healed.
You'll know if you've gone back too early by the warm feeling inside from the top of your jawline. It's not pleasant, though it's not painful either.
Hint: Always buy fresh Blu-Tac, it seals better, and never, ever mix it with Vaseline, as the Blu-Tac won't seal at all.
When it heals up surf in a hood. I had ear issues forever from as grom with middle ear infections,too much swimming, perforated ear drum in 20,s ,surfers ear etc etc always blocked as soon as I go in the water. Hoods, you get used to them (I love mine -one thats attached to a rashy so comes up from under wettie) , not only keeps you warm but never have any blocked ear issues or ear ache, also good protection from wipeout, lip slap or wind (even a bit of protection from getting hit by your board to a degree , I use mine all year round, can just use a thin wettie in summer to make up for hood extra warmth if thats a a problem. Blue tack and good ear plugs work too but hygiene (get manky) and losing them problematic . Most brands make a good one attached to rashie with a synch style drawstring , come in with dry hair regularly , very ear friendly.
I've never had a perforated ear-drum but I have MRSA which flares up every summer for the last 10+ years. The doc said it was from rigorous cleaning with a cotton tip damaging the thin skin/membrane and getting it most likely from surfing in dirty water. I know when it's coming on as when the weather warms up my inner ear gets itchy, followed by the pus and then for all of summer and half of autumn I have to go to the ENT doc (we've become quite good friends) twice a week to get it sucked out so I can hear again. It's left me with permanent hearing damage in one ear.
As for surfing, I religiously wear silicone plugs year round. It's kinda like driving without a seatbelt, I just feel so uncomfortable without them.
Anyway, my ear is ever so slowly getting better but I have to say, never clean your ears with cotton-tips or anything.
Thanks for all the replies. I feel so ignorant as I never realised this was a prevalent issue and something that can put you out for so long.
I've already bought some ear plugs and plan on wearing them at all times in the future unless there's glaring downsides. I will also definitely look into a hood or cap to help keep them dry until they're 100%. I go to the skate park as a 33 year old with wrist guards and a helmet, so looking cool or giving a fuck about what others think of my appearance is something I truly don't care about. I care more about protecting my body which as we age, seems to go from being able to bounce off fucking concrete as a young 'un to feeling like you need to be scraped off the concrete as someone in their 30's.
We either rust out or wear out and I'm choosing the latter. I just want to make it as far into the future as possible and if wearing ear plugs and a hood helps that, awesome.
The doctor said it was only a small hole and I'm going back tomorrow for a checkup, the infection seems totally gone which is a plus (thank god for antibiotics!). I'm mentally prepared for being out for another 5 weeks, so hopefully it's not much more than that.
I wish you all long period swell, good banks, low crowds and favourable winds. Fingers crossed all round for a good winter!
I perforated mine after being held down on a pretty big day at Yorkes about 10 years ago. Like having a cold high pressure hose inserted into your ear. Eventually made it back to the surface but disorientated with the vertigo, couldn't focus with all the spinning and nausea. Got really lucky with only 4 of us in the lineup one of the blokes saw me and came and helped me back to the keyhole . Long story short I blew out a fair bit of my eardrum, was told that I'd need a graft to repair it by the doc but luckily it healed after about 3 months. The doc told me to make sure that I took antibiotics while it was healing because infections in the middle ear can be really serious, so that would be my advice. I had my hearing checked after it healed and did lose some hearing because the each time the eardrum is damaged and grows over it becomes a little less flexible.