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Old 08-06-2011   #1
CBrown's Avatar
Evergreen, Colorado
Paddling Since: '92
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 347
Exostosis Sucks!! GET EAR PLUGS!!

I got attacked by an ear infection this past Monday which led to a trip to the doc. The doc was pretty much horrified when they looked into my ear to discover how micro my ear canals had gotten.
I have had ear infections before but it was never really emphasized to me in past doctor visits the importance of protecting the ear from cold water. I went to my fellow paddler friend (who happens to be an audioologist) to have him construct me some custom ear plugs. He was pretty floored as well once he looked in there and saw the micro openings I call my ear canals.
I am now headed to a specialist on Monday to get further checked out and to get some super custom plugs. The whole situation blows and I guess I have only myself to blame. I am sitting at home now writing this in all sorts of pain (from the ear infection) wondering when I can get back in the water.

Anyway, if anyone else has anything to add, lets hear it. Dont make the same mistake I did and think you are immune to EXOSTOSIS.

Ear Disorders * Exostosis * Surfer's Ear * California Ear Institute * Ear Doctors * Palo Alto * Bay area

"We're gonna need a bigger boat"
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Old 08-06-2011   #2
TenMileCreekKayaks's Avatar
Frisco, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 179
Doc's Proplugs

I tell all my customers about exostosis (surfers ear) and recommend Doc's Proplugs. Also besides the heath factor it helps you cope better wile being underwater and getting into you set for your roll. I wish you the best recovery and hope this too helps others and educates....


Keep The Hairy Side Up......

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Old 08-06-2011   #3
Carbondale, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 317
OK - point taken. Where does one find Doc's Proplugs?
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Old 08-06-2011   #4
TenMileCreekKayaks's Avatar
Frisco, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 179
I stock them in my shop...

Most kayak shops carry them, there will be a fit kit they use to get you into the right size. If your in my hood, can hook you up on a pair with a little cool guy discount for the buzz chat...

Take care,


Keep The Hairy Side up.....
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Old 08-06-2011   #5
Bend, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 141
Go custom

I have friends that swear by docs proplugs but they've never worked for me. I'm on my second pair of custom plugs (made by an audiologist) and I can say that they are the way to go. I've never had them come out, they fit perfectly, are comfortable indefinitely, and as far as I can tell they have slowed or stopped the process of exostosis for me. I would recommend the audiologist I went to but I would guess they are all about the same. I think they cost about $80.
Vaya Con Rios!

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Old 08-06-2011   #6
Woodland Park, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 43
My canals are 80% closed according to an inspection at FIBark a few years ago, after kayaking 35 years!
I've tried Docs plugs but they kept falling out. I use ear plugs with 3 flanges on them, they are sold under the name of Planes if I remember correctly. They never fall out and they keep the water out, they are attached to a plastic "string" to prevent loss. The flanges are stiffer than similar ear plugs with soft flanges on them.
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Old 08-06-2011   #7
fids11's Avatar
Rifle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 111
I gotta say that I must have an ear that Doc's plugs were made for because 2 of my buddies couldn't keep the them in the ears either but I've never had a problem and love my doc's plugs. I even cut the plastic 'string' off that connects them, and I've never had them come close to falling out. And, my head isn't filled with water at the end of a paddle... If I were someone just starting to look at plugs I'd recommend looking/trying the doc's first before getting customs, could save you some $$...
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Old 08-06-2011   #8
fullmer's Avatar
. ., Kairotic
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 143
I had my left ear operated on three years ago and my right ear this year. Both ears were 98 percent closed (eh? what's that you said? Exostosis actually has some distinct advantages when dealing with one's spouse Saturday mornings during boating season).

I started boating in 1985 in northern Utah and southern Idaho, where the water's cold, but not as cold as the Animas, where I've done a lot of playboating the last ten years.

I've never worn ear plugs. Hell, no one did that in the '80s and only wimps did it in the 90's.

The operation isn't a big deal. I only lost about five days of boating each time, although for the operation this year I had to use one of those foam ear plugs and some duct tape for a few days.

If you have a good insurance plan, then the cost of the operation is even less than a pair of Doc's.

So keep your ears open and let freedom ring out loud!
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Old 08-07-2011   #9
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 475
I had custom ear plugs made for me from Ear Inc. ( and highly recommend going that route.
No risk, no reward. It is not that we have to, it is that we get to. Preparation and education are essential to self-confidence and success. - KV
"If there is no risk there is no adventure."- Bill Briggs
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Old 08-07-2011   #10
Chaser's Avatar
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 100
I have Docs proplugs at Alpine Quest Sports in Glenwood. Come on in and I will fit ya up with some.


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