Surfers ear is bony growths that grow in your ear canal, due to exposure to water.
When you get an infection, that is caused by bacteria and is known as swimmers ear.
People that have surfers ear tend to get more infections becasue water gets trapped by the bony growths, and bacteria can grow there. The infections can cause swelling in your ear which can affect your hearing, expecially if you already have narrowing of your ear canal due to the bony growths.
The best thing to do if you have surfer ear is to wear doc pro plugs whenever you are in the water (even in a pool). If used regularly, they will keep the bony growths from getting worse and also keep infections from happening.
I have had surfers ear for thirty years. I have never had the surgery, even though a doctor told me over tweny years ago that I had to have the surgery. Once I started being religous about wearing plugs, the infections stopped occurring. Even though my ear canal is still full of the bony growths, I hear great.
I know a number of people that have had the surgery only to end up having to get it again or having complications.
So my advice to anyone is get the infections cleared up, and start wearing plugs!