Will your ears be damaged by scuba diving?
No, that is the simple answer. You can not damage your ears simply by scuba diving on a daily basis. However, it can get a bit more complicated. And if you aren’t careful, scuba diving might inflict damage to your ears.
Ear safety; Ear pinch or squeeze
Scuba divers’ most common complaint is ear pain. It’s referred to as “ear pinch” by some divers. The pressure in the middle ear (the section behind the eardrum) is “squeezed” by the increasing pressure of the water from outside. As a diver goes deeper underwater and the outer environment pressure rises.
As the diver descends further underwater, ear pain may occur. The Eustachian tubes can not open to release pressure for a variety of reasons, including smoking and allergies.
Points to consider. Ear barotrauma is a form of ear injury caused by pressure variations between the middle ear and the surrounding environment. Ear barotrauma is commonly caused by scuba diving and flying. If you have a problem with your eustachian tubes, you might be at risk for ear barotrauma when you scuba dive. A bandanna can help to prevent water from flowing around your ears. Many divers suggest putting a few drops of oil in each ear before diving to prevent bacteria from entering or remaining in the ear.
The trick to safe equalization is to open your eustachian tubes, which allow higher-pressure air from your throat to reach your middle ears. Most divers are trained to equalize their breathing by pinching their nose and softly blowing. The Valsalva Maneuver is a technique that uses air pressure to open the air tubes.
When to seek medical attention for diving-induced ear pain?
The majority of ear pressure or pinch cases cause the diver to stop diving until the eardrum ruptures. Symptoms usually go away until the diver hits the surface in these situations. Get medical help if the symptoms persist or you don’t know what’s causing your ear pain. A ruptured eardrum can cause disorientation, vomiting, and hearing loss. All of which require medical attention.
If the diver has a ruptured eardrum, he or she should be treated in a hospital’s emergency room. It is reasonable to travel by car. No further dives should be attempted before the diver has received medical clearance.
How should you start treating ear pain when you dive?
If your feel some discomfort in your ears when you scuba dive, the squeeze treatment needs to start as soon as possible. Stop the dive and try to clear the ears. Especially if you feel pain or exhaustion. The dive must be stopped if the ear clearing techniques fail.
When returning to the surface, always finish the decompression stops if possible. The diver can become disoriented or vomit if the eardrum ruptures, which can cause panic. Panic will result in a hasty ascent. During the climb, the diver’s companion (dive buddy) can keep a close eye on him and assist him. Maintain a dry ear on the outside. Nothing should be put in your ear.
Aborting the dive and returning to the surface, with any requisite decompression pauses, is the most important procedure. To open the eustachian tube, start with oral decongestants and nasal spray. If an allergy is a contributing factor, antihistamines can also be recommended.
What do you do if you can’t get your ears to equalize?
Make a series of forced yawns before the ears pop open. Swallowing helps in the activation of the eustachian tube-opening muscles. Sucking on hard candy or drinking water will help to increase the urge to swallow. Take a deep breath and squeeze your nose shut if yawning and swallowing don’t work.
How to keep your ears safe when swimming or diving?
Here’s how to keep your ear safety the next time you visit the pool or go scuba diving.
- Wear earplugs if you’re a swimmer.
- After swimming, lightly dry your ears with a hairdryer.
- Avoid putting cotton, fingertips, or tissues in your ear.
- If you want to keep water out of your ears, don’t depend on swim caps.
- To help block water, put on a swimmer’s ear band.
Thank you for reading, check out if scuba diving is bad for your lungs here.