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Ear Buzzing Tinnitus - Never Diving again

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Oezkan

Member
Mar 2, 2021
2
3
8
30
Hi there, I'm new here and didn't find a forum for diving medicine. If I post this in the wrong one I'm sorry.

I am not sure if im here in the correct address but I gonna try. I started to scuba dive November 2020 and I fell in love straight away. Since November I've been diving 22 times, did all courses until rescue diver and bought almost all my gear. I never loved anything like it. I am 30 years old in Australia. Now I even had to change my visa to a student visa and decided to study diving. In gold coast they offer a study for 1-2 years to become an instructor with many dives and detailed teaching. So I already paid visa and the school and quit my flat and job here in Sydney to go to Gold Coast. The course starts on the 15th march.

But now I'm very sad and scared because something happened to my ear. Around 2 weeks ago I was diving again. It was a 2 days dive holiday including 5 dives. The first day was good like always - 3 dives. The second day - 1st dive was the problem. I couldn't equalize and my left ear startet to pain. I might have waited too long (1 minute) before I ascended again a few meters until the equalizing worked which it did. We finished the dive (19 meters) after 55 minutes. The second Dive was OK and no problems. But then like 1 hour after the dive the pain came back, but on the surface. and my ear was buzzing a lot. I also had a pressure feeling in my ear. Those symptoms stayed for around 3 days. The pain and pressure feeling was gone. The buzzing too but a tinnitus (peeping this time) was left and I still have it 2 weeks later. A very little pressure feeling is left too.

I visited an ENT. She checked my ear very carefully, pumped air in my ear and also made a pressure test and hearing test. She said everything with my ear is alright. No rupture, no hole, inner ear looks OK and hearing too. I told her sometimes when I equalize I can hear a pfff tone in my ear like air coming out. But she said i def. Don't have a hole. She said after 2 weeks I can go diving again.

And I did. 15 days later (1 week ago from now) I went diving (2 times in a row) . This time I was very careful (descending slow and equalizing often and early). And everything went well. I had maybe 2 times in those 2 dives that I couldn't equalize but I acended 1 meter straight away and equalizing worked. The dive felt good. No pain no pressure feeling nothing. But again, even tho nothing happened and during diving I had no symptoms - 1 or 2 hours after the dive (when I was in my quite room) I could hear a buzzing in my left ear / head again. This time even Worse then 2 weeks ago. A very little pressure feeling came on the next day too. This was 2 days ago both. But I had no pain this time only the butting and pressure feeling. Both symptoms are gone again after around 40 hours after the dives. Now only the tinnitus (peeping) is left again. Maybe a little bit worse then 2 weeks ago not sure. Also when I swallow I can always hear a cracking in both ears.

I am depressed and scared I can never go diving again and don't start my diving study in gold coast. I love it too much but also this is now my study and life.

I went to the same ENT again. She said I can not dive again ever. I asked what's wrong with my ears and why I cannot dive again. She said my ear looks great. There is still no hole or rupture, or fluid or infection etc etc. So asked again what causes the problems then and why can I not go diving. But she doesn't answer it and says the tinnitus can get worse and I can lose my hearing.

Do you have any idea, advice or something for me? Maybe some hope? Does anyone have the same symptoms here like buzzing in the ear for 1-2 days after the dive? Does anyone dive with a tinnitus? I'm not sure if I should dive again as I love it so much I don't wanna stop it. And not sure what I will do with my studied now.

Sorry to write such a long text! But I hope to hear from you soon.

Many Grettings

Oezkan
 

DiverC

Member
Aug 3, 2018
15
9
18
Diver's ear is called Swimmer's Ear or Otitis Externa. You need another consult with someone, but not ENT. This may have info
and preventive treatments that you aren't using, so it may help. The video could help you too.
Scuba Tech Tips: Ear Protection for Scuba Divers - S05E07
 
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Leander

Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2017
400
221
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I have tinnitus in my right ear for many, many years. I can't remember silence. After diving (freediving spearfishing for me, so lots of dives in a day) the tinnitus seems worse, but the thing with tinnitus is that it messes with your head, making you focus on the sound, thinking it must be louder.

Mine is a high pitched constant sound, no changes in the frequency ever, and never silent. But I made it my friend. It's always there for me to shift my focus to. :)
 

PatrickHedges

New Member
Mar 3, 2021
3
1
3
36
I have severe tinnitus in my left ear following a military-connected head injury on that side about 10 years ago.

Like Leander said, Tinnitus can have long term effects on your mental health, so know that;
A.) You are not alone, and
B.) There are things you can do about it, and continue to dive.

The first thing I would do is watch this TED Talk called 'Ringing in the Brain'. It talks about what Tinnitus is and how it affects the brain.

One tool that has really helps me when the ringing gets bad is a site called MyNoise. It was designed by an audio engineer, and is based around 'colors' of sound. When the environment is too quiet, I try playing some random noise from there. For me, my tinnitus is usually a high frequency ringing noise, so Brown Noise actually helps calm it down.
If I cant get to that site, I find listening to natural random noise generators like a fountain, a fan, or even cars driving by can help calm things down.

Hope that helps, and I hope that you find a way continue your diving career.
 
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DiverC

Member
Aug 3, 2018
15
9
18
A couple of reminders, keep working on your equalization (videos?) , and your NDL and decompression stops are very important to prevent rupture of the eardrum. Your ENT may be worried about that. Are you diving in the sea or freshwater? Your ENT wouldn't likely miss an infection from freshwater, but they may be hard to spot. I'd consider shallower dives if you want to try again. Alec Pierce thinks the dive shop Doc's Pro Plugs and the glycerin/alcohol preps before a dive help with ear problems; may be woth looking into, and I'm wondering whether a dive doc would have a different second opinion. Your ENT maybe didn't want to scare you out of diving, but I would look into the danger of deafness and if you have any conditions that would place you at higher risk.
 

DiverC

Member
Aug 3, 2018
15
9
18
One last word, and I must stop.
I apologize, some of the information I sent might
not have helped.
The tinnitus is a more important symptom than I
was aware of. If you have time for this video,
and maybe get out a Medical Book out on the anatomy
of the inner, middle, and outer ear you'll know
why you got that advice from your doctor.

This is from

Matias Nochetto, M.D. DAN Diver's Alert Network
Director of DAN Medical Services

Pressure Change and Barotrauma: How Diving Affects the Body’s Air-Filled Spaces



In this video, please
listen to his advice at 31 min 11 sec- 31 min 24 sec
because it may be the final word on this.
 
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DivingNomad

Active Member
Sep 21, 2015
205
91
43
You need to check with a diving/hyberbaric medicine trained physician not a regular physician. Check with DAN for referrals in your area. It is easy for a regular ENT who knows nothing about diving to give a very good or very bad medical opinion if they don't have training in diving medicine. What your current ENT said doesn't make any sense but I am not a physician.
 
Last edited:

DiverC

Member
Aug 3, 2018
15
9
18
DivingNomad, I wanted to say the same thing you did. Here's the problem, the tinnitus could be a significant symptom of a barotrauma to the Middle Ear, if it is, there would be a risk of it involving the Inner Ear with the risk of hearing loss (which could be permanent) and vertigo, which, if it occurs during a dive, could place the diver in great peril. That's why I think Oezkan should be careful, and talk to a DAN doctor first.
 

DivingNomad

Active Member
Sep 21, 2015
205
91
43
DivingNomad, I wanted to say the same thing you did. Here's the problem, the tinnitus could be a significant symptom of a barotrauma to the Middle Ear, if it is, there would be a risk of it involving the Inner Ear with the risk of hearing loss (which could be permanent) and vertigo, which, if it occurs during a dive, could place the diver in great peril. That's why I think Oezkan should be careful, and talk to a DAN doctor first.

That's why a second competent opinion is required.
 

Oezkan

Member
Mar 2, 2021
2
3
8
30
Hi everyone. Thank you very much for helping me! I read all your replies and I'm also unsure if this is a inner ear or middle ear barotrauma. Not sure if the hearing test and tympanogram the ent did (good results) is a proof that the Inner ear is OK. Anyway. I called Dan already. They said on the phone it sounds more like a middle ear barotrauma and that is no reason not to dive again. But they said I shall get another opinion. So I went to a normal, general dcotor who also is a diving medicine doctor. He said the same. Sounds like a middle ear barotrauma and it should be OK to dive again in 4-6 weeks.

I also have a appoinement now with a very good rated professor of ent with many experience on the 24th of March. Let's see what he says. For now I was able to postpone the diving school to the 15th of April.

I'm really scared I cannot dive but I got done more hope now.
 

intheblue5

New Member
Feb 5, 2021
11
1
3
28
Hi everyone. Thank you very much for helping me! I read all your replies and I'm also unsure if this is a inner ear or middle ear barotrauma. Not sure if the hearing test and tympanogram the ent did (good results) is a proof that the Inner ear is OK. Anyway. I called Dan already. They said on the phone it sounds more like a middle ear barotrauma and that is no reason not to dive again. But they said I shall get another opinion. So I went to a normal, general dcotor who also is a diving medicine doctor. He said the same. Sounds like a middle ear barotrauma and it should be OK to dive again in 4-6 weeks.

I also have a appoinement now with a very good rated professor of ent with many experience on the 24th of March. Let's see what he says. For now I was able to postpone the diving school to the 15th of April.

I'm really scared I cannot dive but I got done more hope now.
Hey really sorry to hear what's happened, but it's nice to see so many people here jump in to help, some great advice. I wish you luck with professor and please let us know how it goes!
 

DivingNomad

Active Member
Sep 21, 2015
205
91
43
Hi everyone. Thank you very much for helping me! I read all your replies and I'm also unsure if this is a inner ear or middle ear barotrauma. Not sure if the hearing test and tympanogram the ent did (good results) is a proof that the Inner ear is OK. Anyway. I called Dan already. They said on the phone it sounds more like a middle ear barotrauma and that is no reason not to dive again. But they said I shall get another opinion. So I went to a normal, general dcotor who also is a diving medicine doctor. He said the same. Sounds like a middle ear barotrauma and it should be OK to dive again in 4-6 weeks.

I also have a appoinement now with a very good rated professor of ent with many experience on the 24th of March. Let's see what he says. For now I was able to postpone the diving school to the 15th of April.

I'm really scared I cannot dive but I got done more hope now.

Please do keep us updated with this the developments of this matter. It is beneficial to all of us to know what happens at the end. I wish you all the luck and hope for good news for you.
 
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DiverC

Member
Aug 3, 2018
15
9
18
That is good news and encouraging. Make sure you rest. Since we don't use dive tables anymore, the subject of spacing dives with rest periods may be a good question for the doctor as well as shallower dives. 18 meters is about the limit of the PADI certification except for advanced certification.
 
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