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Hospitals at Saolta University Health Care Group

Sligo University Hospital is extremely busy today with long wait times at the Emergency Department

The Emergency Department in Sligo University Hospital (SUH) has been extremely busy over the past few days and the hospital is advising that patients who attend ED for routine and non-urgent treatment will experience very long waiting times. 143 people attended the ED yesterday, Thursday 08 June, resulting in 32 patients admissions.  

As always, people who do require emergency care are encouraged to attend EDs where they will be prioritised.

National Ambulance Service decontamination demonstration taking place at Sligo University Hospital

National Ambulance Service decontamination demonstration taking place at Sligo University Hospital

Health Officials in Sligo urge the public to stay safe this St Patrick’s Day and help protect the hospitals

Over the St Patrick’s Day long weekend, health officials in the Northwest are encouraging the public to consider all care options before attending Emergency Departments in order to protect them for patients who need urgent and emergency care.

Sligo University Hospital opens new Intensive Care Unit Extension

Sligo University Hospital has opened a new 290 square metre extension to the Intensive Care Unit.  The extension consists of a single storey building adjacent to the existing Intensive Care Unit (ICU) comprising four ensuite isolation rooms with associated facilities. 

Letterkenny University Hospital remains under significant pressure

Letterkenny University Hospital (LUH) remains under significant pressure as a result of high attendances along with COVID-19 and flu outbreaks at the hospital.

There were 116 attendances at the Emergency Department (ED) yesterday (Monday). As of 8am today (Tuesday), there are 56 patients awaiting admission in ED. Many of those attending need to be admitted for ongoing treatment which is leading to pressure on bed availability.


Sligo University Hospital Map

sligo university hospital sligo

Information for Open Water Swimmers, Surfers, Kayakers and all Cold Water Athletes

What is Surfer’s Ear?

Well for starters, it’s not just for surfers. In fact, all cold water athletes are at risk of developing the condition. Surfer’s Ear is a medical condition clinically known as External Auditory Canal Exostoses (EACE) or Exostoses, which is caused by repeated exposure to cold water and wind.

Exostoses are formed in response to a continuous change of temperature within the ear canal. As cold water regularly swirls along the ear canal, the body responds by warming the affected area, this also stimulates bone-producing cells within the ear canal, which cause the bone surrounding the ear to develop a bony growth.

These benign bone growths can lead to infections, water trapping, hearing loss and complete closure of the ear canal if left untreated

The condition develops slowly over time and it may take 10 to 15 years for the symptoms to appear.


Research shows that Surfer’s Ear is most likely in exposure to cold water below 19deg. In Ireland, the water is usually at its warmest in August and even then the average temperature ranges from 13 to 17 degrees. The bottom line is – the water in Ireland is always too cold for our ears!

Surfer's Ear Clinic

Doctors from Sligo University Hospital held a Surfer’s Ear clinic to raise awareness of the condition.         


What does Surfer’s Ear look like?


How do you protect your ears?

Wear earplugs.

The advice couldn’t be simpler; this truly is a practical and cost-effective way to reduce your risk of developing exostoses. Hearing loss associated with wearing earplugs was identified through our study as the main deterrent for athletes across all sporting disciplines. However, modern earplugs are not only discrete but also let sound in and keep water out.

What to do if you are worried?

Visit your GP and ask him/her to check your ears. Your GP may then refer you to your nearest hospital to see a specialist Ear Nose and Throat doctor to examine your ears further.

Research at Sligo University Hospital

A team of consultants, doctors and staff from the Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) department conducted a year-long project to examine Irish cold water athlete’s awareness and understanding of exostoses as well as athlete’s attitudes towards preventative measures such as wearing earplugs.

The ENT team held five “Surfer’s Ear Clinics” which examined almost 100 cold water athletes, concluding that 1 in 2 athletes had Surfer’s Ear.

The Irish Institute of Otorhinolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery provided Dr Seamus Boyle, ENT SpR at the hospital, with financial support in the form of a small grant to progress this research. The Institute plans to work with him to expand this project, as outlined by Professor Nash Patil in the video below:


Calling all triathletes, surfers, open water swimmers, sub aqua and non-water athletes –  help us with our research 'To Determine Water Athletes Awareness of Surfers Ear or Exostosis and Attitudes to wearing Ear Plugs', click here


Information coming soon