Got a physical today and the doc notice surfer's ear mostly in my left ear....25% blockage. I've been lazy and just been using my hood. So wear your plugs kids... (for your ears)
Some good info"
Better yet, go see Kathy Peck at non-profit H.E.A.R . (http://www.hearnet.com/about/about_kathy.shtml) and have her make you molded earplugs for surfing. I've had mine for 3-4 years now and wear them every day I surf. Took a couple of weeks to get used to them, but now I feel naked without them. I forgot how much they cost, but she is a non-profit and the prices are MUCH cheaper than going to ENT doctor.
Better earplugs than the a drill in your ear canals...
I have had surfer's ear for 15 years or more. Knock on wood, so far the only drawback is that water doesn't drain easily from my ears. It takes a little effort to get them clear. Started wearing earplugs a long time ago to ameliorate the problem.
Strangely, I have found "Earplanes" to work exceptionally well. They are only about $14 at Walgreens. Walgreens even has a generic version for less. They stay in place without fail, hood or no hood. I trim the outside "handle" off by about a centimeter, so that they don't rub on the inside of my hood. I've tried seven or eight different ear plugs and these are the best / cheapest that I've found. My surfer's ear has not worsened since I started wearing earlplugs. Highly recommended.
I had to have surgery a few years back as my ear canal was almost completely shut. There are different techniques for surgery. The old way was very painful and meant they had to cut around the back of your ear and flip your ear open in order to access the ear canal. That was pretty gruesome and required a fairly long recovery time. Now they can access and clear your ear canal directly without having to cut around your ear, but not all surgeons are willing to do it that way because there is a risk of damage to the ear drum. The surgeon I had at Kaiser SF, Dr. Iaquinta, was excellent. I was out the same day and in the water a week later.
Seconding H.E.A.R. I bought a set of Mack's high fidelity Hear Plugs because I see a lot of live music. I called up H.E.A.R., and she said she'd leave a set under the doormat, and that I was to just put $10 in the mail slot. Super cool.
I have had several ear procedures and after many years of standing next to big amps my ears are shot. I have found the macs earplugs work well. One of my dr's said those were probably the best. I used vasoline and cotton balls and then silly putty when I was a kid. Try the macks Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs. I can't hear shit with them in but I like surfing in silence.