Exostosis (commonly called “surfer’s ear) is a pathology caused by prolonged exposure to wind, cold and water.

Exostosis generates an excessive growth of the bone in the auditory canal, resulting in the loss of hearing and can lead to deafness in the worst cases. In addition, the bone growth allows waste and bacteria to sit in the canal, which in turn increases the case of ear infections.

Surgery is the only solution to address exostosis once it is installed. There are also evident risks of bone re- growth when no protection is worn afterwards.

The growing number of outdoor sports participants (surf, ski, bike, swimming, running) in challenging conditions has resulted in an increase of exostosis in numerous regions of the world.

In 2010, a group of surgeons in the South West of France conducted a thorough study on exostosis and the existing offer of earplugs. Results concluded that there was no protective equipment for the pathology, or that addressed the specific needs of water sports participants wishing to prevent it, in particular in terms of hearing, balance and fit.

In collaboration with engineers, the surgeons developed an earplug using an innovative design made of flexible medical silicone with a breathable Sympatex® membrane, to allow the circulation of air in the ear, and therefore maintaining hearing and balance.

Originally developed under the name Sorky (standing for Sorkuntza, the Basque word for “innovation”), the earplug is now distributed by EQ, under the name Seals Balance Pro.

The name Seals refers to the verb, as well as to the animal’s natural ability to close its ears when going underwater, and also to the Navy Seals.