Ear Pain, Scuba Diving
Next Steps - Follow-up
- Avoid eardrops unless prescribed by a doctor. Put nothing into the ear.
- The person may be referred to an ear, nose, and throat specialist to monitor the eardrum healing.
- No further diving should be undertaken until 2 weeks after all symptoms are resolved and the eardrum is healed.
Prevention is the preferred treatment for ear pain involved with scuba diving.
- Divers who are unable to clear their ears or experience pain should stop their descent and abort the dive.
- Divers clear their ears by several methods. The most common is the valsalva maneuver. This involves plugging the nose, closing the mouth, and blowing. The procedure increases the pressure in the mouth and throat, pushing air into the eustachian tube to open it up.
- Divers should equalize their ears frequently when descending.
- Diving should not be attempted if any sinus or upper respiratory symptoms are present.
Most ear pain with scuba diving will go away by itself usually within a week without long-term effects. Eardrum ruptures usually heal themselves over longer periods of time but sometimes require surgical repair. Facial paralysis, if present, most often is temporary. Mild hearing loss may continue.
Synonyms and Keywords
ear pain, scuba diving, middle ear barotrauma, MEBT, barotitis media, ear squeeze, scuba diving ear pain