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.

Swimmers Ear

swimmer's ear infection

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

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

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

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

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
Ears and Sinuses: Barotrauma for the Dive Professional, By Diver Alert Network

Quick Tips

To hear with a hearing aid on the phone, hold the telephone near the hearing aid microphone, if you have a behind the ear hearing aid this will be behind your ear.