OK, so you messed up on your first dive of your holiday, didn’t listen to the pain in your ears, and now you’ve got middle ear barotrauma. Your ears feel “full” (they are: with blood and mucus) and you can’t hear too well.
But you feel fine, and equalising is no longer a problem. Can you continue to dive for the rest of the week you paid so much for?
Some divers do, but they are taking a serious risk of permanent loss of hearing or, even worse, balance control. In addition to the obvious risk of infection, remember that you can’t be sure you haven’t also damaged your inner ear at the same time. Symptoms of the latter aren’t always strong or immediate. All the medical advice says that if you’ve suffered middle-ear barotrauma, get out of the water and stay out until it clears up.
Answer provided by the DAN Medical Team
Scuba Diver AUSTRALASIA + OCEAN PLANET is the official media partner of DAN Asia-Pacific, the diving industry’s largest association dedicated to scuba diving safety that provides dive accident insurance.