Ear trouble

Questions relating to medical issues and treatment. Where possible and appropriate, we will request comment from qualified and reputable NZ-based diving doctors. If your query relates to a personal medical issue, we recommend you contact your GP or relevant medical specialist.

Ear trouble

Postby natureboy » Thu May 22, 2008 6:07 pm

A few years ago I burst my eardrum diving, well, I think I did - I never had it diagnosed. Does anyone know if I can dive again or does that kind of injury never heal?
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Re: Ear trouble

Postby justsimon » Thu May 22, 2008 6:10 pm

Why did you think you had burst your eardrum?
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Re: Ear trouble

Postby natureboy » Thu May 22, 2008 6:12 pm

justsimon wrote:Why did you think you had burst your eardrum?


Because it really hurt and I couldn't clear it for weeks - felt like there was water in there. Pretty sure it must have burst!
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Re: Ear trouble

Postby tazbubz » Thu May 22, 2008 6:14 pm

natureboy wrote:
justsimon wrote:Why did you think you had burst your eardrum?


Because it really hurt and I couldn't clear it for weeks - felt like there was water in there. Pretty sure it must have burst!


could have been just a perferated ear drum...?? I would go to a speciallist to get checked, they would tell you... all I know is don't waste your time with a normal doctor...
what did the farmer say to the cow on the roof? - "get off the roof" What did the cow say? "Moo"
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Re: Ear trouble

Postby justsimon » Thu May 22, 2008 6:22 pm

Because it really hurt and I couldn't clear it for weeks - felt like there was water in there. Pretty sure it must have burst!


I have had something similar a couple of times and my GP advised me it was prob inflamation caused by trauma to the ear. ie me pushing the depth without clearing properly. It cleared up and after a followup visit he said I was good to go again.
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Re: Ear trouble

Postby natureboy » Thu May 22, 2008 6:27 pm

Well that's good to hear...hopefully I'll be back in the water soon then. I will get it looked at though, just to be safe.
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Re: Ear trouble

Postby Andy » Thu May 22, 2008 6:28 pm

natureboy wrote:
Because it really hurt and I couldn't clear it for weeks - felt like there was water in there. Pretty sure it must have burst!


I had a similar problem.... what had happened to me is that a layer of skin had lifted from the surface of the ear drum, and water was getting trapped inbetween the layer of skin and the ear drum iteself.

Since then, I've talked to a few other people who had the same problem... weird, I thought it would have been uncommon!

If you did 'rupture' the ear drum, it depends on how well it healed as to whether you would be considered fit to dive - best to see an ENT specialist or a good diving doctor, rather than your normal GP.
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Re: Ear trouble

Postby justsimon » Thu May 22, 2008 7:56 pm

I had a similar problem.... what had happened to me is that a layer of skin had lifted from the surface of the ear drum, and water was getting trapped inbetween the layer of skin and the ear drum iteself.


ouchouchouchouchouchouch

Did you get an explantion on how it could have happened? (other than sunbathing on your side :D )
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Re: Ear trouble

Postby Andy » Thu May 22, 2008 9:01 pm

justsimon wrote:ouchouchouchouchouchouch

Did you get an explantion on how it could have happened? (other than sunbathing on your side :D )


The curious thing was that it wasn't painful at all - it was literally one layer of skin, and looked like a perfect eardrum.

No idea how it could have happened - but everyone I know who has had the same have all done lots of dives in Pupuke.... :mrgreen:
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Re: Ear trouble

Postby Andy » Thu May 22, 2008 9:33 pm

It's not really ear related, but the worst equalisation problem I've heard of will make a lot of people squirm.....

A DM I used to work with had to use a Pro-Ear mask to enable her to equalise..... because some dentist in Aussie did a root canal on her, but managed to drill right through into the sinus cavity... :shock: :shock: :shock:

It was several years ago, and even now it makes me feel sick thinking about it....
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Re: Ear trouble

Postby Hoppy » Tue May 27, 2008 12:16 am

ouch, re: root canal...

as everyone else says... get it checked by an ENT specialist, WITH diving knowledge.

tips I have around this...

* if you are ok with the water quality (ie not pupuke, and this is in the sea) then gargle some water just before you descend... or in the boat prior with a water bottle...
* equalise SOFTLY, early, and often; if you have to blow hard, all you are doing is further compounding the issue as you will be blocking it harder. Once its closed trying to equalise actually forces a flap further closed, have a hunt on the net for diagrams and you'll see what i mean
* DONT force it... see above... just ascend
* relax... the biggest equalisation issues I see are with people who are stress (clenching jaws, tense neck muscles etc)... along with the water gargle... if im feeling stressed for whatever reason (rushed into the water or just hot, or whatever) I often just stick my face in the water, sans mask, and breathe through my reg... seems to put my head into 'dive' mode...
* keep well hydrated... i got this one from the GP... applies generally if you are a bit clogged up too... if you arent well hydrated, your sinuses tend to be one of the first areas that will start to get dry and cloggy.
* get your teeth checked... i had a few problems equalising an ear at one stage... turned out i had a dodgy back molar with a hole in it... once that had been pulled, that ear cleared amazingly better.

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Re: Ear trouble

Postby Andy » Tue May 27, 2008 9:43 am

Some good advice there, Hoppy.

Looking after ears has come a bit of a priority for me - anything that helps keep them in good shape, I'm interested!
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Re: Ear trouble

Postby aquakiwi » Tue May 27, 2008 8:19 pm

A burst ear drum will usually heal but sometimes the scar tissue will make it more differcult to equalise and in some cases
not possible. As said consult an ENT specialist.
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