To identify the presence and severity of External Auditory Canal Exostoses (EACE) in a group of white water kayakers related to the duration and intensity of kayaking and the number of ear infections reported.
A community based volunteer cross sectional study was completed with 92 kayakers (69 male, 23 female, mean (SD) age 29.3 (8.72) years) and 65 control volunteers (37 male, 28 female, mean (SD) age 36.9 (14.9) years). Following exclusions 269 individual ears were examined (154 kayaker, 115 control). Participants completed a questionnaire and underwent otoscopic examination. Main outcome measures were the presence and severity of EACE, the duration and frequency of kayaking and self-reported ear infections. Exclusion criteria included other cold water exposure, known ear pathology or poor visualisation of the auditory canal.
The findings demonstrate that 69.5% of kayaker ears and 1.7% of the control group were found to have EACE. Severity of EACE was significantly associated with the duration (p<0.01) and frequency (p<0.05) of kayaking with 90.6% of kayakers that had participated for over 10 years having evidence of EACE. A significant relationship also existed between the number of self-reported ear infections and the severity of EACE (p<0.01).
There is a positive relationship between the duration and frequency of white water kayaking and the presence and severity of EACE and associated ear infections.