Diving Ear Pain Treatment
Symptoms of diving ear pain (also known as barotrauma) include:
- Ear pressure
- Mild to severe ear pain
- Reduced hearing
- Ringing ear
1. Stop the Descent
- Help the person ascend until symptoms disappear. Do not go up faster than is safe.
- If ear still hurts as the person goes up or if there are other symptoms, end the dive.
2. Treat Symptoms
- For pain, give ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). Avoid ibuprofen and other NSAIDs if the person has heart failure or kidney failure.
3. When to See a Health Care Provider
Seek immediate medical care if:
- Pain, a feeling like there is water in the ears, or muffled hearing continues after the dive is over
- There are symptoms of inner ear damage, such as deafness, ear ringing, or vertigo
- The person has experienced ear pain when diving before
If possible, see an ear, nose, and throat specialist with experience in treating diving-related ear problems.
4. Follow Up
- To avoid serious hearing loss or other problems, the person should not go on another dive until the pain goes away or the person sees a doctor.