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Question - ear damage

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.


I equalise hands-free. I was at about 10m, monofinning horizontally. I made U-turn and forced some more air through the Eustachian tubes (it was not intentional but intention is of academic interest now). I felt sharp pain in my left ear and went for the surface. I had imbalance problem at the surface for about 10s. No bleeding from the left ear and only slight pain. I stopped diving for the day. Later that night I had awful pain in my left ear for 4-5 hours. Friend of mine checked my left eardrum the next morning and could not see any damage. I have not been diving since the incident. Two days later I still feel like my left ear is full of water, although there is no pain anymore. If I try to force some air through the Eustachian tubes (very carefully and only slightly – when swallowing) I can hear crackling noises in my left ear.

What did I damage? What do I do about it?

Thank you very much.
Sounds painful. Ive had a similar experience to this at similar depths an am pretty sure it was a case of hood squeeze. My understanding of what happened is that the smooth open cell inside of the hood formed a seal around my ear and although I thought I had equalised I had not fully cleared one ear. Then, when looking around the seal was broken and water at pressure flooded into my ear. Owwwww. I cant really offer any medical details but my ear was quite sore for a few days and was then ok. I would suggest seeking a medical opinion if any pain persists but suspect everything will be back to normal in afew days.

Ive seen a few posts on here recently with ideas on how to avoid hood squeeze including making small holes into the ear area of your wesuit and running a thread around your forhead to break the seal. Try doing a seach on recent ear related posts.

Hope this help and the ear gets fixed.
I think that the best advise you'll get is to get it checked by a doctor. Small perforations could be undetectable to the untrained and unequiped eyes.
Eardrum injuries can start healing the same day the happen, so being able to equalise now is not an indication.
Whatever might have happened, something was wrong, and you don't wanna start having ear problems. Just check it to be 100% sure it's nothing. The risk you'll do further damage or not heal completly for some unexpected reason is not worth it, it might stick with you for life.
Sounds like "middle ear barotrauma". See a doctor as soon as possible, even in the weekend.
Make shure the eardrum is allright. The fluid "feeling of water" (it is not water) in the ear is not good. This fluid must be helped to get out of the inner ear gently but fast so it does not get time to infect etc. and the ear can get back to normal as soon as possible.

I do not know if your friend has a medical background and knows what too look for but personally I would rather let a qualified doctor look into my ear. There is more to this than just the eardrum.

If the diagnosis is what I think it will be, and since you still have "water in the ear" even now, your doctor will probably prescribe a oral degongestant like sudafed and probably also a nose spray to use for some days. The oral stuff is important. You can contact DAN (divers alert network) to be on the safe side if your doctor thinks differently or does not prescribe you a oral degongestant.

Personally I would see a doctor, give the ear rest and not dive for several days after the ear feels normal again to minimize the cance for complications.

See for example https://www.daneurope.org/eng/faq51.htm
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