Last Updated on December 24, 2021 by Stephen Paul Robertson
Cauliflower ears are known to be the most common wrestling injury. They can branch into other health issues like ear infections, cartilage loss, and necrosis. When cauliflower ears are left untreated even for a little bit of time, they have the ability to cause major damage. Hence, it is best to avoid them altogether.
Blunt trauma directed to the ear causes cauliflower ears. As blows to the ear are inevitable in wrestling, people are left wondering, how do wrestlers avoid cauliflower ears?
According to experts, wearing head safety gear does the trick. This brings on the confusion. Does wrestling headgear prevent cauliflower ear? Or is it just a myth?
Allow us to delve a little further into the topic.
What is Cauliflower Ear?
Cauliflower ear is the term given to a medical condition in which the ear cartilage dies due to lack of blood flow. When the outer part of the ear faces a big impact from large bodies (for example a fist), a blood clot called auricle hematoma is formed. This causes a hindrance to the ear’s blood circulation, resulting in the cartilage receiving no nutrition. Over time, if this is not treated, the muscles of the cartilage start to die and separate from the perichondrium. This makes that part seem fibrous and hard, causing the external part of the ear to form a weird shape.
One can identify cauliflower ears because of the excruciating pain it inflicts. Swellings and bruising are other significant signs. Right after noticing this, you must consider consulting a doctor. They will help you identify the problem and can prevent further damage.
If you choose to ignore these indications and proceed to leave your ear untreated, more prominent symptoms will show up in the future. This includes a constant ringing of the ear, frustrating headaches, damage to hearing, hazy vision, swelling of facial muscles, and constant bleeding. These problems are the sign that your ear cartilage has started dying. Over time, your ear’s disfigurement becomes more permanent and you can do nothing to protect it any longer.
Does Wrestling Headgear Prevent Cauliflower Ear?
According to experts, you can prevent the formation of cauliflower ears by wearing headgear that is compatible with your sport. So, wrestlers can wear ear guards to keep this painful medical condition at an arm’s length. Both hard shell and soft shell ear guards will do an amazing job of protecting your ears.
A wrestling ear guard is usually made out of a combination between plastic and foam. When force is applied, these materials try to absorb some and spread the rest out. Less amount of energy is thus transferred to the wearer’s ear, causing decreased damage to the blood flow. As blood circulation in the ear is left unhindered, the cells in the cartilage receive all the necessary elements. As muscles are kept nourished, dead cartilage is successfully averted.
Besides wearing ear guards, wrestlers can also turn to ear splints. These are other pieces of equipment that help in keeping the ear’s condition pristine. They are small and lightweight making them extremely comfortable to wear, unlike ear guards which can be too tight or loose.
An ear splint acts similarly to how a retainer acts towards teeth. Specialists take scans and measurements to form a mold for the ear which helps in keeping the ear’s shape. This helps in maintaining blood a clear bloodstream and thus, cauliflower ears can be avoided.
Ear splints are also known to improve the ear’s healing after it has faced blunt trauma. Filled ears usually require days to mend but with an ear splint, you can decrease the number of days to one.
Lastly, after treatment of cauliflower ears, ear splints also prevent your ear from refilling. As the ear is firmly held by the mold, blood travels to all places including the cartilage. So, you do not have to worry about getting cauliflower ears ever again.
Why should you Wear Wrestling Headgear to Prevent Cauliflower Ears?
Many wrestlers see cauliflower ears as something to be proud of. Do not fall into this cycle as this medical problem will bring you several downsides to your life. Patients have always complained about the agony this condition brings. They also mention how being left with a permanent disfigurement makes others see them differently.
Cauliflower ears can cause fatal blows to a wrestler’s health. As mentioned in the beginning, it can lead to an ear infection, which causes immense pain. Patients with an ear infection also get sick with high temperatures and have decreased energy. It hinders their daily life greatly. Wrestlers even have to take a break from their careers for this.
Hearing problems amongst wrestlers is also associated with cauliflower ear. Their ears ring from time to time, making it hard for them to listen. Over time, as blows to the ear continue, the problem might worsen to result in permanent deafness. Wrestlers will thus be left with a lifelong disability which might prevent them from going after their passion.
As you are probably aware by now, the cauliflower ear includes dead cartilage. Since dead muscles cannot be revived, people have to instead go through long and expensive surgical procedures. The aftermath of the surgery requires about six weeks to heal and also leaves you with a long list of medical expenses.
Now you know why you should be staying miles away from cauliflower ears. So, put the necessary headgear on while your ears are still intact. Many tournaments or other fighting scenes will prevent you from wearing a helmet while wrestling. If you are a part of such an association, at least put your headgear on while practicing and sparring.
Did our article convince you so far about purchasing wrestling headgear? If yes, read the next section to find out what factors you should invest in before picking one.
Things to Consider Before Buying Wrestling Headgear That Prevents Cauliflower Ear:
Hard Shell or Soft Shell Ear Guards
An ear guard with a hard shell will always provide you with more protection than one with a soft shell. However, several soft shelled ones manage to be excellent at safekeeping. So, before spending tons of money, take some time to look into reviews and find the best possible options. You can also “check this article” to learn about some of the best youth wrestling headgear.
Durability and safety are always dependent on the wrestling headgear’s material. So, before buying, check out what the ear guard is made out of.
When faced with impact, plastic can flex and spread out the energy. Foam, on the other hand, has shock-absorbing properties. Both of these can thus be combined to form an ear guard which passes on only a little of the energy applied to the wearer’s ear.
Wrestling headgears come in two sizes–adult size and youth size. The youth size can be worn by those under 10, while the adult size is reserved for others. It is the strap that mainly takes care of the adjustment, so before purchasing, try putting it on once and altering the fit. Check to make sure that it sits firmly on your ears without being too tight or too loose.
Both cheap and expensive ear guards will do a good job of protecting your ears. Only longevity is affected by the price. So, do not go out of your way to purchase too costly ones. Instead, check for brands that are renowned and look into their products.
If you keep all these factors into consideration, you will be able to purchase the perfect wrestling headgear. You can then continue with the dangerous sport with decreased risks.
Can you get cauliflower ear while wearing headgear?
Yes, if your headgear manages to slip off or is in poor condition, you can get cauliflower ears while wearing it. So, make sure you get yourself a good quality headgear that is just the right fit for you.
Why do wrestlers not wear headgear?
Many wrestlers believe that wearing headgear increases the chances of getting hit. This is because the opponent can grab onto your headgear and insert blows. Many wrestling matches also do not allow the fighters to wear headgear.
How long does it take to get cauliflower ear from wrestling?
One can get a cauliflower ear within a span of 5 to 10 days. This is why you need to always keep an eye out for symptoms like pain and swelling.
Does cauliflower ear hurt forever?
No, after around 10 days, the pain decreases. This mostly happens after the cartilage dies and the area of your ear disfigures. Once this happens, you can only have your ear fixed through costly surgeries. The recovering period is also quite long.
Does wrestling headgear prevent cauliflower ear?
According to experts and statistics, the answer is a big yes!
So, without wasting your time being too prideful, get yourself the suitable headgear. Wrestling is a dangerous sport, but to continue with your passion for it, you need to keep your body away from harm. Besides that, let us face it. A long list of medical bills will only bring you stress.
Without any further confusion, put on your headgear and enjoy a safe match!
- Types of Wrestling Headgear
- How to Put on Wrestling Headgear
- How to Clean Wrestling Headgear
- What Sport Causes Cauliflower Ear
Paul, a graduate from the University of California, has been a Safety Advisor for over 5 years in USA. Along with his other 2 partners, who are professional bikers, he has been the chief of the headsafetyguard.com to create mass awareness on an often neglected issue: HEAD SAFETY