Blakestah, Otolaryngology department research scientist? Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery? I'm sure you've given this subject a lot of high level thought. That would make your information the absolute latest. I've used the alcohol rinse since 1967 so I'm a pretty good subject. I've had one recurrence of SE since then. Actually it probably wasnt SE because it was a middle ear infection. My guess is it probably came from my sinus. I probably inhaled something foul at Surf Expo. Or swallowed something rank at Spanish House. Either way the alcohol probably didn't help, because it didnt reach the problem. Interestingly the Floxin Otic drops the Dr. gave me had some interesting instructions. I could not read them until I got over most of the initial phase of the infection, but the instructions describe a process to get the drops into the middle ear. First the person lies on his/her side and the person giving the drops should gently press the TRAGUS 4 times in a pumping motion. The instructions say, "This will allow the drops to pass through the eardrum or tube in the eardrum and into the middle ear". I tried it and it worked. I could taste the drops. So now I can deliver alcohol to every part of my ear. mark
Howzit Blakestah, The alcohol just helps to displace the water trapped in the ear. It's the vinegar the helps abate the calcium growths. I'm sure you've heard of people with arthritus drinking a little every day, and from what I understand it helps. Aloha, Kokua
For what its worth, I had the surgery for exostosis/swimmer's ear last year. It sucked. The otolaryngologist who performed the surgery said it was the worst case of exostosis she had ever seen in her 12 years of performing the operation. The first thing she asked me after she examined me was if I surfed in the winter (I live in NJ). She said she has been seeing more and more of the condition lately, which clearly corresponds with the increase in winter crowds on this coast. I will never surf in water under 55 degrees without a hood ever again, I can tell you that much.
There have been research studies that quantify bony growth as a function of exposure time and temperature. Whereas there are clear trends that relate to temperature, there is also a LOT of variability from person to person. I've had friends drilled after 5 years, and others who've gone a LONG time with no problems. But, if exposure is adequate, everyone will develop SOME measurable bone growth. At water temperatures above 68F, there seems to be little evidence for a problem. The vinegar is not there to dissolve the calcium. The bony growth is under the skin layer, and the skin is a substantial barrier. Besides, vinegar, at normal "cooking" concentrations, won't do a heck of a lot to bone unless you soak if for a substantial period. Bone is a LOT tougher than soft tissues for chemical treatments. Vinegar is a regular ingredient in "swimmer's ear" drops, to alter the local pH to something less favorable for the usual bacteria that grow in there. The recommendation for people with no swimmer's ear, just looking to clear the ear out post-session, is 95% rubbing alcohol, 5% glycerin. If you have outer ear infection problems (swimmer's ear), 47.5% rubbing alcohol, 47.5% white vinegar, and 5% glycerin. Both of these mixes are sold commercially for these treatments, OTC. But, there is no reason to think either will impact the bony growth. That is a thermal issue, and the best advice is hood and plugs. And if you can use ear canal drops for a middle ear infection, you should probably spend a few weeks out of the water [smile] http://www.blakestah.com/fins/
I've had this operation on each ear twice. I was one of the first guys who had the laser surgery. Once you have it done it grows back very quickly. The best medicine is preventive medicine. In 1992 my rt ear was 98% closed and the left 90% closed. For the next 5 years I always used the silicone plugs. Problem they only work a few times then you have to toss them because of the ear wax. I also had many ear infections and inner ear infections. In 1992 someone gave me a set of Hearos plugs. These changed my life. My bone growth is still the same (remember you can still hear until there is total closure) with no increase in growth. I've had no ear infections and I surf 3-5 times a week. Always use them in the tropics and pools also if you have closure. Wash you ears with acahol and vineger. Do not have the orpation you can stall the closure take from soemone who did it twice my last operation was in 89 and by 92 I had it back. Don't be sucked into this by the doctors like I was! Go surf!