To Determine Water Athletes Awareness of Surfers Ear or Exostosis and Attitudes to wearing Ear Plugs
INTRODUCTION AND STUDY INFORMATION SECTION:

You are invited to take part in a research study undertaken by the Ear, Nose and Throat Department at Sligo University Hospital. It is important for you to understand why this research is being done and what it will involve. Please take time to read the following information carefully and discuss it with others if you wish. If you would like more information please email surfersearproject@gmail.com. Take time to decide whether or not you wish to take part. Thank you for reading this.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS STUDY:

Surfers Ear or Exostosis are benign bone growths in the ear. It is associated with cold water exposure particularly seen in surfers. An Irish study determined 66% of surfers in Ireland can have these bone growths, 88% of whom were unaware of their diagnosis (Auditory canal exostoses in Irish surfers P. Lennon et al). Surfers are not the only water participants potentially at risk - any person exposed to prolonged cold water exposure may develop Surfers Ear.

A previous study in the UK determined 86% of surfers reported awareness of Surfers Ear (Awareness and attitudes towards external auditory canal exostosis and its preventability in surfers in the UK by S Morris et al). There is paucity in the literature to determine the awareness of Surfers Ear in Irish Kayakers, Triathletes, Open Water Swimmers, sailors and Sub-Aqua participants and attitudes towards ear plugs. The aim is to answer these questions, as well as raising awareness of Surfers Ear and potential preventative measures. This study involves a questionnaire.

You have been chosen as you are either a water or non-water athlete. Those picked as a non-water athlete will be used as a control to determine general baseline information.

The questionnaire takes around 3 minutes to complete. No treatment or intervention will be performed in this study. The aim is to gather information on awareness of Surfers Ear and attitudes to ear plug use. All information which is collected about you during the course of the research will be kept strictly confidential.

WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE DISADVANTAGES & RISKS OF TAKING PART:

No intervention will be performed.

WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE BENEFITS OF TAKING PART:

The benefits of this study are to raise awareness of Surfers Ear and potential prevention of Surfers Ear in water athletes. The information we obtain from this study may help us to provide better outcomes for future patients with Surfers Ear .

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE RESEARCH STUDY STOPS AND WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE RESULTS OF THE STUDY:

The results of this study will be analysed. The data may be accepted for publication to a medical journal and may be presented at national medical meetings. This is an observational study. If you are concerned you may have Surfers Ear,
please contact your GP.

The Research Ethics Committee of Sligo University Hospital have reviewed this study.

For Further Information please contact Seamus Boyle, ENT Spr, Dept. of ENT Sligo University Hospital by email surfersearproject@gmail.com

Thank you for your time.
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