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Best Ear Protection for SCUBA Diver
How Coes Scuba Diving Affect Your Ears?
Your ears play a crucial part to every single dive and as a diver you will know and experience this already.
External Ear Canal Superficial Vessel Rupture
This occurs more often in divers who wear hoods. Occasionally, the overpressure may rupture a blood vessel inside the external ear canal, causing some minor bleeding.
When water is left in your ear after swimming it creates a moist enviroment for bacterial growth. If your skin lining your ear canal is already irritated or inflammed, this with the combination of stagnent water in your ear canal will encourage an infection to develop in your ear canal.This type of infection is known as Swimmers Ear (Otitis Externa).
Middle Ear Barotrauma
This is by far the most frequently reported injury among divers. People with barotitis media generally develop symptoms immediately following the dive, but delays of up to one day or longer have been reported. When the diver descends, the pressure can cause injury to the middle ear. This overpressure of the middle ear can cause serious fluid and blood to leak into the middle ear, partially or completely filling it.
Ear Drum Rupture
Barotraumatic injuries to the ear may result in perforation or rupture of the tympanic membrane. This may occur in as little as 7 feet / 2.1 meters of water.
Inner Ear Barotrauma
This injury generally occurs when divers attempt to forcefully equalize their ears. This "hard" blowing over-pressurizes the middle ear and can result in implosive or explosive damage to the round and oval windows
Inner Ear Decompression Sickness
This generally occurs in deeper or longer dives when decompression stops have not been undertaken correctly. It is caused by formation and growth of bubbles from excess dissolved gas in body tissues, it can happen in many body tissues and the inner ear is one of them.
Ear and Hearing Trauma Prevention Tips for Scuba Divers
- Never diver alone Never dive with a cold or congestion or unable to equalise
- Seek a Doctor straight away for ear examination and investigation
- If your ear bleeds, appears to be infection or you are suffering with tinnitus, vertigo or sudden hearing loss after diving.
- Your eustachian tube is a muscle and sometimes takes a bit of practice before you can equalise properly.
- Try different equalisation methods the use of Frenzel Technique is less intrusive.
- Never force an equalisation, always go slightly shallower and try and re-equalise to then find more depth