There are not many things in life that can be as thrilling as diving. The feeling of witnessing some of the most amazing sights on the planet and the ability to see and meet the “residents” of the seabed is so intense and beautiful that it could hardly be described by words. So, it comes as no surprise that this sport is becoming more and more popular each year, with tourists all around the world using their holiday to try something new and to create memories and experience they will never forget.
But, like everything else in life, some possible side effects could make that experience less pleasant and more painful.
One of those is ear pain
This problem is one of the most common problems when it comes to diving, and it can affect anyone – no matter how old a person is, or even how healthy, it can occur even if you didn’t have any kind of ear problems so far in your life.
In the further text well try to explain how does it happen, what are some of the best ways and techniques on how to prevent ear infections while diving, and what to do if it happens to you while you try to enjoy being on the seafloor.
So, how does this happen?
You know that feeling when the plane you’re in is starting to take off, and you feel the sudden pressure in your ears? It is all due to the pressure change. As the plane climbs up through the air, the air pressure in your environment changes and the first place you’ll feel it are your ears.
The same thing happens while you’re diving. The pressure in the water is different than the one in your middle ear (so-called “ear squeeze”). It means that the air doesn’t flow through your ears fast enough, and it takes more time for the pressure in your environment and in your ears to equalize. The more time passes by, the bigger are chances for your eardrum to pop and prevent you from diving while it heals. Also, if the pressure does not equalize, you could end up having barotrauma, a condition caused by the pressure difference and the damage your ears have suffered because of it.
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms related to this condition, besides lingering ear pain, are fullness, ringing in ears or dizziness. Also, possible symptoms are hearing loss, vertigo or vomiting.
You’re already in the water – what should you do, how to behave?
As mentioned above, this problem occurs when there is a pressure difference in your ears and your environment. So, your goal is to stabilize it, and the best way to do it is to yawn and swallow.
Yawning and swallowing will allow the air to get through your ears and are the most used techniques worldwide.
There are also a few other techniques you could use, as website Scuba diving suggests.
Before you get to the boat, you should try to swallow. If you hear a sound similar to “pop” in you both ears, it means your Eustachian tubes are working the way they should. Use the chewing gum, as chewing makes you swallow constantly.
When you get into the water, go with your feet first. Also, it helps to look up, as it makes your tubes open when you do it, and to pull yourself down using an anchor or a rope, as it gives you a better feel of the pace you’re going down. Don’t forget to swallow.
If you start feeling a small amount of pain, stop diving, move up a bit and try to equalize again. If you don’t succeed or the pain becomes stronger, head to the doctor as soon as you get out of the water.
One more tip is – go slowly. Don’t dive suddenly, let your ears and your body get used to the pressure and dive easily, without the rush.
Is there any way to prevent it before you get into the water?
As we’ve mentioned before, ear pain could happen to anyone, but some people are more prone to it than the others, as stated by E medicine health.
So, if you are a smoker, or have allergies, upper respiratory infections, nasal polyps, had previous facial trauma, or simply love to clean your ears aggressively, you may have a greater chance to catch this problem.
The chances are bigger this can happen if you have a cold or your body temperature is higher than normal.
Avoid alcohol, drugs, and milk before you dive.
What to do if it hits you
If you feel the pain, stop with further diving and climb up. If the pain gets worse, as soon as you get back to the surface, head to the nearest doctor. After the examination and prescribed therapy, you’ll have to wait to be medically cleared before you could dive or fly again.
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If you love nature, if you love to explore and if you’re someone who enjoys being sounded by the peace the ocean bottom could provide, diving is without any doubt the right choice. It can create some of the most amazing stories and to inspire you in many ways. But, before that, if you want to get the best out of the experience, you’ll have to follow some basic steps that will not only keep you safe and healthy but will also help you tell that story without remembering it as something painful.
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