University of York,
They won't help your problem at all but it should give everybody else on the
river a damned good laugh
>>> I have had some trouble with my ears recently (stand by for lashings of
>>>self pity). Usually the day after I've been playboating my ears feel like
>>>they are a bit infected. This sometimes lasts for quite awhile.
Hello James, fancy meeting you here!
Forget the blutack. I aslways used to use chewing gum ( after all I
need somewhere to keep is safe whilst paddling.....) but now use a
swimmers cap. There are several pros & cons...
Keeps head warm in summer
Not so good if you wear specs, as I do
Mates mock you
Keeps head warm in winter (esp when surfing)
No need to adjust helmet fittings
Can't hear your mate's mocking calls
I know one smoking paddler ( lights up in every other eddy) who's been
known to stuff filter tips (used) in his lugholes
>>>been to the Nurse about it. Though she is very nice, she cannot see much
>>>wrong with my ears and she point blank refuses to give me any
Admit it, you just fancy the Nurse!
(Always in the Sh*t, only the depth varies)
Do you have any vertigo, or just the infection feeling?
Unfortunately, Hank's condition is not a laughing matter, as indicated by the
article by Mick Evans and comments by Slim Ray below.
Evans' article is reprinted from rec.boats.paddle. Ray's
comments were added when Evans' article was reprinted in
Messing About, newsletter of the Western Carolina Paddlers.
Don't Turn A Deaf Ear To This
by Mick Evans
Most sports have common injuries associated with them and
kayaking is no different. Though shoulder dislocations and
tendinitis of the wrist have become less common due to improved
paddles and paddling technique, there is a new kid on the block
--OSTEOMAS. This is a condition of the ears that can result in
severe hearing loss.
This is how it works: the human body does not like cold
water next to the ear drums and, if this occurs repeatedly over
a period of years, will adapt with bony growths that reduce the
size of the ear canal. If this condition is not caught the ear
canal can completely and permanently close causing ear
infections and/or major hearing loss. This condition is
commonly called "Surfer's Ear" (it is not in the plural because
surfers routinely turn their heads in the same direction when
getting hit by a wave and one ear gets the beating).
Following the widespread use of dry suits, the increase in
winter boating, the increase in play boating, hole riding and
squirt boating, ears are being exposed to cold water in a big
way. I remember when boating in the winter meant taking it
easy on a class 2 run, avoiding anything that would invoke the
noun "splash." Now paddlers play hard 12 months a year.
Whether they choose to accept it or not, many paddlers have
this condition in varying degrees.
Fortunately, it is easily avoided by keeping cold water
out of the ears. This is best accomplished by wearing a surf
hood when an occasional head dip is expected and ear plugs for
wetter events such as hole riding and squirting. It is not
necessary to keep the ear canal totally dry, but your
protection should greatly reduce the volume of water entering
the ear. Ear plugs come in many types. My favorite is a
moldable silicon soft plug available at most drugstores. Ear
plugs are a hassle at first, they're easy to lose and interfere
with hearing, but you'll get used to them.
The question for most paddlers is, do I have this
condition? If you get ear aches, ear infections or have
difficulty getting water out of your ears the answer is maybe
and you should arrange for a visit with an ear doctor for a
professional opinion. If the diagnosis is yes then you have
several options. If you have caught the condition early and
can live with your current ear problems, wearing ear
protection,while not reversing the condition, should halt any
worsening. If the condition is advanced, then surgery is
usually necessary. Many paddlers have had the necessary
I've exposed my ears to cold water all my life,first as a
child growing up on the Welsh coast and then for 30 years as a
surfer and kayaker. The first signs may have occurred when I
was 23, but it was not diagnosed until 1987 when I was 37. I
had severe hearing problems in one ear and fair hearing in my
other. I elected to have surgery, each ear, 12 months apart.
The surgery involves mechanically removing the bony growths.
This is a 3 hour procedure done under general anesthetic and
costs about $3,000 per ear.
The operation and recovery were relatively painless for
me, though I had to stay out of the water for 6 weeks. My ear
canals are now slightly larger than normal ("We have the
technology, we can make him better than before"), my hearing is
fine and I always protect my ears.
One of my buddies has had this procedure done to both ears
twice, 7 years apart! He always wore earplugs after the first
go around but thinks that the cold wet winds he worked in may
have rekindled the condition. These things may grow faster the
second time (remember, this is the same smart body that grows
lumps on your feet to make that squirt boat extra tight!).
I hope I haven't scared anyone, well just a little maybe.
Just keep boating the way you always do,but please, PLEASE,
keep that water out of your ears and in the river where it
Slim Ray's note: Cold water in the ear causes more problems
than just bony growths. Hey, come to think of it, maybe that's
why most paddlers are such BONEHEADS.
But seriously, folks, have you ever wondered why your roll
is worse in the spring (when the water's cold) than in the fall
(when it's warmer)? It's not JUST that you haven't been
practicing. All them little mechanisms in your inner ear
control your balance, and they're sensitive to cold. That is
to say, when cold water floods into your ear, it may seriously
affect your balance, and therefore your roll. In extreme cases
you may even get an attack of vertigo.
Yes, I can see it now. What an excuse! But it's true.
Some people are more sensitive than others. I had a lot of
trouble with it until I started wearing a neoprene hood during
the winter. Ear plugs work even better but are more of a
hassle. So protect your ears -- and swim less.
Sorry, got to go. Someone's calling me. What??
I have a problem with swimmer's ear, so I use an over-the-counter
solution before and after paddling. From what little I know,
swimmer's ear is a fungus, much like athelete's foot, that is
activatied by moisture. Using the drops will help dry out your ears
after paddling and some solutions will kill bacteria. While paddling
the water drains out better, so trying to get that annoying water out
of your ears between rapids isn't as much of a problem. Some home-
brew drops contain gylcerin and boric acid, but too much acid can make
matters worse! ;^)
Henry Ballard e-mail hba...@ces.clemson.edu
"We are often most in the dark when we are the most certain, and most
enlightened when we are the most confused." M. S. Peck
> Oh Hank? (chris/woody/andy/dan) my sides are splitting! I'll show you what
> you can do with your fluffy ear muffs you cheeky bleeder. James.
> > I suggest you try wearing a pair of those pink fluffy ear muff things.
> > They won't help your problem at all but it should give everybody else on the
> > river a damned good laugh
Don't leave home without it.
And for the summer, a Patagonia beanie, which makes one look like Amelia
Earhardt, but who cares? I don't mind looking like a Junior Airman if it
A. prevents ice cream headache B. expedites my roll in cold water (and
believe me, the water in Washington is always cold.) and C. prevents bone
growths that cannot be handily removed with a Black & Decker cordless
"April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain." - T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland.
James: Sorry I can't be too specific, but I know that swimmers also have
this problem. Suggest that you check out someplace that sells swim stuff
(especially for competitive swimmers). Or maybe try posting to the
rec.sport.swimming newsgroup if no success with your message.
John Ullian (j...@worf.evms.edu)
>Usually the day after I've been playboating my ears feel like
>they are a bit infected. This sometimes lasts for quite awhile. I have
>been to the Nurse about it. Though she is very nice, she cannot see much
>wrong with my ears and she point blank refuses to give me any
>pharmeceuticals to help (what kind of a nurse does she think she is!?!).
Well, maybe you've already tried it -- I always use my old standby,
hydrogen peroxide. You know, a cap-full in each ear and let it bubble
for a minute or two. Maybe right when you get home.
Good luck, Robert
You roll them down to a small diameter, stick them in your ears, and
hold them for about 60 seconds. They slowly/gently expand back out to
conform to your ear canal. I've never tried them for watertightness,
but I think they would be, since they block out high-frequency sounds
They are closed-cell material, so they won't absorb water.
> I have had some trouble with my ears...
Sounds like "swimmer's ear." If you're fairly certain you have
things growing in there, see a specialist for the appropriate
medication. Bacterial infections are treated with an antibiotic,
but all kinds of yeasts and fungii also can set up home in your
outer ear. Once you get the infection under control, there are
preventative steps you can take -- basically, you need to keep
the ears dry or at least get them good and dry right after getting
out of the water.
Many swimmers use earplugs while swimming -- Speedo and most
other swimming supply places make soft plastic things with fins
(which work well for me) or putty-like inserts you mold to fit
your ear (these always seem to fall out of my ears). You'll
have to experiment to see which (if any) keep your ears dry.
You can hear pretty well with both types.
In addition, there are two types of over-the-counter remedies
you'll find in most large pharmacies (in the U.S., at any rate).
One is basically high-strength (98%) isopropyl alcohol, and is
good for draining out and drying the ear -- good for keeping
the water-borne bacteria under control. The other smells like
vinegar and is better for fungii. Some swimmers even mix up
their own brew of equal parts rubbing alcohol and vinegar --
but I can't say from my own experience that this will work.
Hope this helps.
You need to get an EarWig from Playboater - it's a neoprene skull cap to
wear under your helmet and over your ears and stops the water scooshing
in. Makes you look bloody silly though...
I think you'll find them in most decent UK canoe gear shops...
Pete Ford (P.S....@durham.ac.uk) http://www.dur.ac.uk/~dch3psf
Durham University Crystallography Group http://james.dur.ac.uk/
~~~~~~~~~Tel. 0191 374 4704~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Fax. 0191 374
* Views expressed in this message are not necessarily shared by anyone
> I have had some trouble with my ears recently (stand by for lashings of
> self pity). Usually the day after I've been playboating my ears feel like
> they are a bit infected.
Try rec.sport.swimming for advice. My collegiate swimming friends had all
kinds of remedies they used to rinse and dry their ears after swimming.
Also, there is a condition that can develop wherein frequent cold water in
the ear canal causes circulatory changes and overgrowth of bone that can
eventually impair hearing. This is no joke.
P.S. Nice reply to the fluffy pink earmuffs.
Jordan Ross jr...@iquest.net
"364 days of miniature golf and a car race" -- Kurt Vonnegut
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