Ear pain after jumping into water: Causes, treatment, and recovery time
Causes, treatment, and recovery time
Ear barotrauma refers to ear pain caused by a change in pressure around the ear. It can cause discomfort or pain as well as difficulty hearing.
Ear barotrauma usually clears up by itself, but some people may need to talk to a doctor, and in very severe cases, have corrective surgery.
It is important that people understand what ear barotrauma is so that they can seek medical attention if necessary. Read on for an overview of the causes, symptoms, and treatment of this condition.
Ear barotrauma is a condition that causes a person to feel pain or discomfort in the middle of their ear due to pressure changes in the surrounding air or water.
Scuba diving can often cause ear barotrauma, and it is also common during an airplane take-off or landing. Certain infections and blockages can cause ear barotrauma too.
The condition can be acute or chronic. Acute cases are common and generally harmless. However, a person with chronic ear barotrauma will experience prolonged symptoms, which may lead to further complications.
A blockage of the eustachian tube, which connects the ear and mouth, is a common cause of ear barotrauma.
The eustachian tube is responsible for maintaining balance when there are external changes in pressure. If a blockage occurs in the tube, the pressure differences inside and outside the middle ear can cause the symptoms of ear barotrauma.
The change in altitude when taking off or landing in an airplane can also cause ear barotrauma. The rapid ascent and descent of the plane combined with the pressurized cabins can cause an imbalance in pressure between the middle ear and outer ear. Altitude changes that occur when going quickly up or down a mountain can have similar effects.
It is also common for people to experience ear barotrauma while scuba diving, as changes in water pressure affect the tympanic cavity in the ear. When diving, it is crucial to descend slowly to prevent rapid changes in pressure causing injury to the ear.
The symptoms of ear barotrauma differ according to how severe and prolonged it is. Initially, a person may only feel an uncomfortable pressure inside the ear, but sometimes the condition can progress and worsen.
When air pressure changes are responsible for ear barotrauma, it often goes away as soon as the air pressure outside has normalized, and should not cause any further symptoms.
However, people may experience additional symptoms when ear barotrauma results from illness or a blockage in the middle ear.
Doctors classify ear barotrauma as either acute or chronic. Acute cases are quite common and are generally harmless. Chronic cases occur for an extended period and have the potential to cause further complications.
In mild cases, or when ear barotrauma first starts, a person may experience:
- difficulty hearing or mild hearing loss
- a feeling of fullness in the ear
- overall discomfort in the ear
In moderate to severe cases, or if ear barotrauma persists without treatment, a person may experience additional or worsening symptoms. These may include:
- injury to the eardrum
- fluid leakage or bleeding from the ear
- increased pain in the ear
- pressure sensation in the ear, similar to how it feels being underwater
- moderate to severe hearing loss
People with these symptoms may need to seek treatment to get symptom relief.
Mild cases of ear barotrauma cause symptoms that typically only last for a few minutes before clearing on their own.
In severe cases, a person may need treatment to resolve an underlying cause. The recovery time will depend on the severity of the underlying cause.
Ear barotrauma can sometimes lead to a ruptured eardrum, also called tympanic membrane perforation. If this happens, it may take several months for the ear to heal completely. A ruptured eardrum often heals spontaneously, but, if this is not the case, it is possible to repair the eardrum with surgery.
In most cases, the symptoms will clear up before a person can see their doctor. However, if the pain is severe or constantly recurring, or there is fluid leakage or bleeding from the ear, a person should see their doctor.
The doctor will ask when the symptoms occurred to see if they relate to air or water pressure changes. They will then check for ear infections and examine the eardrum and the inside of the external ear canal to look for signs of ear barotrauma.
If the eardrum appears to be pushed in or out, this can indicate ear barotrauma. The doctor can check this by applying a small burst of air into the ear to look for fluid buildup or blood behind the eardrum. In some cases, there is no physical evidence of ear barotrauma.
Following the examination, the doctor will discuss the most appropriate treatment options and next steps.
Most cases of ear barotrauma will resolve after a short period without the need for medical intervention.
However, it should be possible to relieve the symptoms of mild ear barotrauma by using certain techniques to help open the eustachian tube. This allows air to enter or leave the middle ear to equalize the pressure. These techniques include:
- Chewing gum, sucking on a lozenge, swallowing, or yawning. Using the mouth helps to open up the eustachian tube.
- Taking an over-the-counter (OTC) nasal decongestant, antihistamine, or both. If a person has upper respiratory congestion or an allergy, this may help the eustachian tube to stay open.
- Stopping a diving descent at the first sign of ear discomfort to allow time for equalizing.
People should avoid putting drops in the ear.
It is essential to keep the ear clean and away from contamination to prevent any infection while it is healing. If an infection is present, a doctor may prescribe antibiotic therapy.
In cases of chronic or severe ear barotrauma, a doctor may decide that surgery is necessary. Using a particular surgical procedure, it is possible to implant small cylinders called ear tubes into the ear. These can relieve middle ear problems.
The use of ear tube placement surgery is common in children who have hearing loss due to recurrent infections or ongoing fluid collection in the middle ear. However, surgeons rarely use this procedure to treat ear barotrauma.
A person can reduce their risk of experiencing ear barotrauma by taking a decongestant, an antihistamine, or both before activities where pressure changes are common. These include scuba diving, hiking, and flying in an airplane.
They can also preempt the symptoms and use the same techniques that can relieve early symptoms. These include:
- descending slowly on dives
- exhaling through the nose while ascending
- chewing, yawning, sucking on a lozenge, or swallowing
- staying awake during take-off and landing in an airplane
Most cases of ear barotrauma are benign and will resolve without medical treatment. A person should consider seeking medical attention if additional symptoms accompany the sensation, it lasts for a long time, or it occurs frequently.
Following treatment, a person should not experience further complications and can expect a full recovery.
Summertime water sports can be a real pain in the ear
Ryan Duncan, M.D., for Williamson Medical Center
Published 3:02 p.m. CT July 4, 2017 | Updated 6:02 p.m. CT Sept. 23, 2019
People who have recurrent episodes of swimmer’s ear, should be careful to dry out the ears after swimming.(Photo: Imgorthand/Getty Images)
With summertime comes a plethora of water sports, some of which can cause ear problems ranging from swimmer’s ear to a ruptured eardrum.
Probably the most common ear ailment we see this time of year is otitis externa, more commonly known as swimmer’s ear. Swimmer’s ear happens when the skin in the ear canal gets infected with bacteria, which usually occurs as a result of getting water trapped in the ear. Most people associate it with swimming in a pool or lake, but you can also get it from the shower or even cleaning your ear with a Q-tip.
It’s a trap
Once water gets trapped in the ear canal, the skin stays moist and that stagnant water acts like a puddle, which can be a breeding ground for bacteria.
Excessive ear wax or skin conditions such as eczema can predispose you to these types of infections. Wax can trap water in the ear and those underlying skin conditions can cause cracks in the skin that make infections easier to get in the skin.
The most common symptoms of swimmer’s ear are ear pain, swelling, drainage and muffled hearing. If a patient complains of tenderness when they press that little piece of ear cartilage on the outside of the ear (the tragus), it almost always indicates swimmer’s ear. But a diagnosis needs to be made by someone looking into the ear canal, because that infection, if left untreated, can spread to the skin around the ear and into the jaw and neck muscles. You can get cellulitis of the face and neck from a bad case of swimmer’s ear — and that is 10 times worse than swimmer’s ear itself.
The best way to prevent swimmer’s ear is to keep the ear dry. Some people wear ear plugs when they swim, but, if you are only an occasional swimmer, you can just try to dry the ear up if you notice water has gotten trapped. I recommend taking a hair dryer to the ear and literally drying it out.
There are also some over-the-counter swimmer’s ear drops which have an alcohol base to them that you can drop into the ear to help dry up any trapped moisture. You can make your own concoction with a 1-1 ratio of rubbing alcohol and white vinegar. The alcohol dries up the water and the vinegar acts as a mild antibiotic.
For people who have had recurrent episodes of swimmer’s ear, I recommend being very careful to dry out the ear every time after you swim. If you aren’t prone to it, I wouldn’t say you need to do the hairdryer trick every time, though. But if you feel that you have trapped any water in the ear, it’s a good idea to get it cleared out.
Typically, for a mild case of swimmer’s ear, we use an antibiotic ear drop. Occasionally it gets bad enough for oral antibiotics. Sometimes we have to go in and clean out the ear. Excessive ear wax can trap water, so it’s important for some people to get their ears cleaned out by a physician. This allows the medicine to get in and the water to get out.
You can try the home remedies to get the water out, but if you have pain, fever or drainage, you need to be put on an antibiotic.
Severe ear trauma
In addition to water getting trapped in the ear canal, summertime presents all kinds of risks for busted eardrums or eardrum perforation from water skiing, jumping off a high dive or anything else along those lines.
With a traumatic eardrum injury, usually you’re going to know right away that something has happened, because there will be a force applied to the ear or the side of the head followed by pain. Sometimes you will have drainage and even hearing loss or dizziness. After an accident like that, I do not recommend putting drops in the ear.
The good news is more than 90 percent of those injuries heal on their own, but I highly recommend that anyone suspecting any kind of rupture see a doctor within a few days. There are a few situations that would warrant a quicker visit to a doctor, and that’s if there is persistent dizziness or vertigo. That could mean you sustained an injury to the inner ear, not just the eardrum.
Because the majority of these traumatic eardrum ruptures heal on their own, we give them six weeks to heal. If they don’t, we may have to go in and repair them surgically.
For anyone who has tubes in their ears or has had a previous eardrum perforation, don’t put any drops in your ear unless you know the eardrum is healed.
If you suspect either swimmer’s ear or something sustained from a water-related fall, you should see a primary care physician or an otolaryngologist for assessment and/or treatment.
Dr. Ryan Duncan (Photo: Submitted)
Ryan Duncan, M.D., is a board-certified otolaryngologist with ENT Specialists of Cool Springs and is a credentialed physician with Williamson Medical Center. His office can be reached at 615-973-6096.
This story is provided and presented by Williamson Medical Center.
Related: More stories from Williamson Medical Center
Members of the editorial and news staff of the USA TODAY Network were not involved in the creation of this content.
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Eardrum pain from water slap?
I am practicing learning to swim at a local community pool. I don’t have any SCUBA training yet, though I may see if I can do a Discover Diving in a pool to try it.
I’m slowly moving up to more advanced things. Just this last week I started practicing ways to jump in at the deep end face-first wearing various masks and goggles, a full wetsuit, and fins, learning about holding the mask jumping it, adjusting tightness for goggles and diving, etc.
On Monday I probably dived in face first about 20 times. I’m not sure you would even call it diving. I am basically tipping forward face-first standing at the edge of the pool in the deep area. It’s the first time I ever did that, lots of water up the nose.
Due to me wearing big split-fins, I can’t use the ladder, have to quickly pull myself up at the edge of the pool in the deep end, get a knee wedged on deck, pull myself on deck fully, and stand up. Bit of a challenge and very hard on my shin bones due to the raised tiled pool edge. Ow. Buying some shin guards to wear in pool the next time I try that.
Also my ears sorta felt uncomfortable jumping in face first, but I figure I’m just not used to this and will need some time to deal with these new forces and pressures.
My shin bones hurt a lot after that, so I stopped going swimming for a few days..
On Thursday I decide to try again. Except this time I figure out if I go up the pool steps backwards with the fins, I can dive in, swim to the steps in the shallow area, walk out backwards up the stairs, and repeat. So I dived in about 30 more times various ways. Again the surge of ear discomfort diving in, but it mostly goes away when I surface.
On Saturday I do this some more, maybe 20 more times. This time my ears are starting to get painful when I dive in, though it seems like nothing major at the time. Though after the swimming I notice that my ears do feel sore out of the water.
On Sunday, well, lets try it some more. I go to the pool, and immediately try diving in face first as before. This time, OW, my eardrums hurt after doing that! And they still hurt after surfacing.
And it seems my both eardrums are now so tender and sensitive, that in fact the rest of my time in the pool just doing surface swimming and exercise, my ears now hit me with pain any time the water comes up over my head and slaps my ears. Merely trying to practice a front crawl or just bobbing hurts like hell anytime the water touches my ears.
I stayed in the water for 2 hours anyway afterward trying to exercise, etc. ….. but I spent most of my time trying to keep my head OUT of the water. My wetsuit helps me float higher, but to avoid pain the only way I can get water over my ears is to very slowly and gently submerge them.
So. Apparently I overdid it the first time? Or this is the point where I need to start exploring vented diving ear plugs?
I do recognize that in the past just merely practicing floating and bobbing in the deep end, it has been irritating to repeatedly float and submerge from the water slapping at my ears. After a while my ears start to ache and I have to stop with that. Maybe it is actually harmful to my ears to subject them to all this repeated water slapping.
Do the professional swimming pool high divers have these problems? Do they have to limit the number of times they jump in the water to prevent ear pain? Do they wear ear plugs? I don’t know.
For an open water snorkeler and diver, it seems like eardrum stress could be a problem from just the repeated concussive slap of the water at the surface, even without diving deep.
And if not ear plugs, perhaps just a hood will help reduce the slap pain?
Foolproof Techniques for Removing Water from Your Ears
For many people in Reno, summer means splashing through fountains or taking a dip in the pool to escape the heat. While that’s a great way to cool off, if water becomes trapped in your ears, it can lead to infection – and possibly even impact your hearing. We have some tips that will help you get rid of water from your ears and prevent health complications.
These Tips Will Help Get Rid of Water in Your Ears
Water in your ears can cause a plugged-up sensation and make sounds appear muffled. You might experience ear pain, tinnitus, hearing loss and loss of balance and coordination, a runny nose or a sore throat. When water accumulates in the ear and doesn’t drain properly, you risk developing swimmer’s ear, surfer’s ear or another type of infection that can cause hearing loss if left untreated.
The following techniques should help you get rid of water trapped in your ears.
- The Gravity/Jiggling Technique. Lie on the ground with your affected ear parallel to the floor, tilt your head and jiggle your earlobe. Gravity will take care of the rest! You can use a cotton swab to remove any water remaining in your ears.
- The Valsalva Maneuver. Scuba divers and airline travelers are familiar with this trick. It involves plugging your nose and blowing it using modest force; this helps to normalize the pressure in your ears and should allow water to drain.
- The Vacuum Technique. Placing the palm of your hand over your plugged-up ear and pressing gently for a few seconds will create a suction effect that should help dislodge water from the canals. Repeat until it is all gone.
- The Hairdryer Technique. Using a hairdryer on its lowest heat setting and aiming it at your ear (don’t get too close) will help the water to evaporate and dry out your ear canals. Don’t worry, if you don’t get rid of it all at first, the rest should drain on its own.
- The Pulling Technique. Reach around the back of your head and tug gently on the outer portion of your ear with your opposing hand. This will straighten out the ear canal and allow water to drain out.
- The Chew and Yawn Technique. Moving your mouth and jaw help equalize pressure in the Eustachian tubes. Try chewing gum and yawning to encourage built-up water to drain out. Shaking your head afterwards provides an extra assist if you can’t quite get it all.
- The Chemical Technique. If none of these natural techniques help, there are a number of over-the-counter alcohol-based ear drops designed to remove moisture from the ear canals.
Your audiologist in Reno recommends wearing swim plugs or a swim cap whenever you are going to be exposed to water in order to prevent it from entering your ears, and to dry them thoroughly afterwards. If you have water trapped in your ears and can’t get it out using these techniques, make an appointment as soon as possible.
Ear Pain & Diving: Why Your Ears Hurt Underwater
Did you ever swim to the bottom of a pool and suddenly your ears were killing you? What you experienced was one of the most common problems associated with diving: Ear pain caused by a significant increase in water pressure. We’ll take a close look at why your ears hurt and what you can do about it.
Scuba divers are constantly exposed to this phenomenon. So much so, that the diving community named it the “ear squeeze”. As divers descend down towards the bottom of the sea, the water pressure on their eardrums increases. This pressure against the eardrums causes the symptoms of ear squeeze.
Starting with a feeling of fullness, it can become quickly very uncomfortable and dangerous as the eardrums swell and bulge. If the pressure continues to increase, the eardrums may burst. As a result, freezing cold seawater rushes into the middle ear, causing nausea, dizziness and vomiting. A less than ideal situation for a diver many meters below the surface of the water.
Since scuba divers usually go far below the normal depth of a public pool, there must be a solution to this kind of ear pain. Should you ever be diving and experiencing ear pain, it is very important not to ignore it.
You need to know how to clear your ears and when to abort the dive to prevent injuries and permanent damage to your ears. So let’s dive right in.
Why do your ears hurt when you’re diving?
As you dive deeper underwater, environmental pressure increases drastically. It’s why submarines have to be highly pressurised to prevent them from being crushed as they dive far below the surface. Your ears are similar in that way.
Normally, the pressure inside and outside of the ear is the same. Then, everything is fine and you’re probably not giving it another thought.
But when you dive, there is water on the outside of your ear, and air on the inside of your ear – the middle ear to be exact (the middle ear is the area behind the eardrum).
Your body can counterbalance this pressure, but for this to happen, the air pressure must reach the inner surface of the eardrum. And that is a job for the eustachian tube.
The eustachian tube links the ears to the nose and throat and opens and closes to regulate the middle ear pressure. If the eustachian tube is not functioning correctly, you’ll feel the “ear squeeze”.
Ear injuries from diving are completely preventable. In order to stay safe, you need to learn how to equalise the pressure in your ears BEFORE you start diving.
You might recognise this phenomenon from elsewhere. If you’ve ever been on an aeroplane, you’ve probably felt it in your ears before. When the plane takes off or lands, the air pressure around you changes. Oftentimes people recommend chewing gum during a flight and they’re not wrong. The movement of your jaw can possibly open up the eustachian tube, helping your ears to equalise the pressure.
What can make ear pain worse?
Anything that may affect the functionality of the eustachian tube will make ear pain more likely whilst scuba diving. Even the common cold can greatly affect the performance of the eustachian tube, along with other respiratory problems and chronic sinus conditions. Allergy suffers, including those with hay fever are at risk, too. So are smokers and other individuals with pre-existing conditions, such as nasal polyps or previous facial trauma.
Note: Prospective scuba divers who are suffering from a respiratory illness or significant nasal/sinus problems should be discouraged from diving by their instructor.
Ear pain from diving: Knowing the risks
One of the major risks associated with ear pain whilst scuba diving is the potential to perforate the eardrum. A very simple rule can be applied here if you are experiencing ear pain whilst descending underwater: Stop your descent and try to equalise. If you are unable to equalise, the dive must be aborted and you should return to the surface.
If you are unable to equalise and relieve the ear pain and continue your descent, you are at a very high risk of perforating your eardrum, which carries the added risks of disorientation, dizziness and nausea – not something you want whilst you are deep underwater.
Once an eardrum has been perforated it may never fully return to normal, so you may be left with recurrent problems preventing you from diving in the future.
Treatment forms for ear pain from scuba diving
Ear pain through scuba diving is usually temporary, and will likely disappear on its own, usually within a few days. If this pain persists, we do recommend that you seek medical intervention.
Should the eardrum be perforated, it normally heals naturally, without medical intervention. But it is important to keep the ear dry during the healing process or be at risk of middle ear infections.
If you choose to seek medical attention following the scuba dive, the physician will likely initially ask a series of questions regarding the dive itself, alongside medical history questions regarding previous sinus problems and respiratory illnesses.
They will then examine the ear thoroughly using an otoscope, in order to assess the health of the eardrum. They will look for any perforations, and look to see if the eardrum is ‘bulging’, or retracted, which can be signs of eustachian tube dysfunction.
Hearing loss is another concern with perforated eardrums, which will need to be monitored regularly. The physician may decide to refer you onwards to an Audiologist, where further testing, including a middle ear function test, called a tympanogram can be performed to provide more information about the health of the middle ear.
How to prevent permanent ear damage from diving
As discussed earlier, the primary preventative measure is to abort the dive at the first sign of ear pain which is not relieved through decompression. It is important to complete all of the recommended decompression stops as you descend; these are in place for this exact reason.
If you are prone to sinus congestion and allergy-related problems, then your physician may recommend oral or nasal decongestants, along with antihistamines where allergies are involved.
Should you proceed with the dive whilst experiencing ear pain and suffer a perforated eardrum, then a course of antibiotics will be required to prevent infection, along with a trip to the Audiologist to have a hearing test.
In some cases, surgery may be required if the perforation is too large to heal naturally. You will likely need to also stock up on paracetamol as eardrum perforations are painful.
Ear Injuries And Diving: Key Takeaways
- Ear pain through scuba diving is common and is caused by the difference in pressure in the middle ear compared to the external pressure as you descend in the dive.
- Equalising at your decompression stops will usually prevent this pain, but in some circumstances, equalising may not be possible.
- This is usually caused by eustachian tube dysfunction, which is linked to sinus problems associated with upper respiratory problems and allergies.
- If you have a cold or sinus congestion, seek medical advice prior to diving and consider taking decongestants or antihistamines in the lead up to the dive. You may want to reconsider your decision to dive if the symptoms persist.
- Should you experience ear pain during the dive and are unable to equalise, it is important to halt your descent and potentially abort the dive, as continuing your descent can lead to further problems such as perforating the eardrum, dizziness, disorientation and nausea.
- Seek medical advice should ear pain continue longer than a week after your dive.
If you’re suffering from ear pain from diving, a ruptured eardrum or have any other concerns around your hearing health, call your nearest Attune clinic today and get a thorough diagnosis of your ears by one of our friendly, qualified Audiologists.
What to do when you’ve got water stuck in your ears
Contributed by Debbie Clason, staff writer, Healthy Hearing
Last updated 2020-05-11T00:00:00-05:00
Playing in the water can be fun for people of all ages. While summer is a great time to enjoy swimming to its fullest, all of the splashing around can occasionally lead to water getting trapped in your ears. Symptoms include a feeling of fullness in the ear canal and a sensation that water is jostling around in your ear. It can happen in one or both ears.
Sometimes tilting your head to the side
is all it takes to remove water in your ears.
When the water doesn’t trickle out on its own, it may lead to a case of otitis externa, an ear infection also known as swimmer’s ear.
Why does water get stuck in my ears after swimming?
Water can remain trapped in the ear for any number of reasons, including a narrow ear canal or because it’s trapped by something inside the ear canal, such as excessive earwax or another foreign object.
Does it happen to everyone or are some people more prone to it?
Kids and adults who spend a lot of time in the water are most at risk; however, getting water stuck in your ears can happen anytime you go under the water. Sometimes inverting yourself, like during a flip or handstand, can lead to water in your ears.
Is it risky when water is stuck in ears?
Sometimes. Your ears secrete a waxy, water repellent-substance known as cerumen (earwax), so most of the time water will gently trickle out on its own. When it doesn’t, bacteria may begin to grow and cause swimmer’s ear.
Favorable environments for bacterial growth include wet and humid conditions, scratches or abrasions inside the ear canal or reactions from allergies and skin conditions.
Initial symptoms of swimmer’s ear may be mild and include:
- Itching and redness inside the ear canal
- Mild discomfort
- Drainage of clear, odorless fluid
If you experience these symptoms, make an appointment to see your family doctor immediately. If water has been stuck in your ears for days or even weeks, also see your doctor.
How do you prevent it?
If you’ve got water in your ears after you swim or bathe, you can wear over-the-counter earplugs, or talk to your hearing healthcare professional about purchasing a set of ear plugs designed for use in the water. These plugs may be more expensive than the typical foam ear plugs purchased at the drugstore; however, they can be custom-fit your ears and are washable and reusable.
More: Kids and earplugs: What you need to know
Tips to get water out of your ears
If you do happen to experience an episode of water in the ears, don’t insert anything inside your ear canal to help it drain. Using a cotton swab or other object—even your finger— may push obstructions deeper into the canal and puncture your eardrum. It can also scratch away the protective waxy layer inside your ear canal, providing an opening for bacteria to grow.
Instead, try these tips:
- Tip your head toward the affected ear and gently tug on your earlobe.
- Move your jaw by yawning or chewing gum. Then tilt your affected ear toward the ground.
- Take a breath, pinch your nose with your fingers, close your mouth and gently exhale to open your Eustachian tubes.
- Lay on your side for a few minutes with the affected ear resting on a soft, cotton towel.
- Cup the palm of your hand securely over your ear. Tilt your head toward the ground as you gently push and release your palm back and forth to create suction.
- Use heat. Rest your affected ear on a warm compress or blow warm air from a hair dryer (low setting) into the ear canal.
- Use hydrogen peroxide ear drops, available in most drug stores, or make your own with equal parts vinegar and alcohol. Please note: Only try this option if you do NOT have an ear infection, perforated ear drum, or eardrum tubes.
If these techniques don’t work or if you feel pain or develop a fever, contact a medical professional immediately.
More: Why do my ears feel clogged?
Monitor your ear health
Enjoy all the sounds every season brings by making your hearing health a priority. Schedule annual visits for hearing evaluations and, if you’re diagnosed with hearing loss, follow the prescribed course of treatment sooner rather than later. Visit Healthy Hearing’s directory to find a hearing center near you.
Dive Training: End Ear Pain
Bill Story is a dive instructor right out of Central Casting. He’s fit, knowledgeable, good-humored, and could dive four times a day trouble-free — that is until he had to teach a class. When helping students on a boat, Story couldn’t even manage a second dive, his ears stubbornly refusing to clear, causing a painful squeeze that made it appear as though the good teacher couldn’t practice what he preached.
After trying every trick he knew, he sought the advice of dive physician and ear, nose and throat specialist Murray Grossan, M.D., of the department of otolaryngology at Cedars Sinai Hospital of Los Angeles. Turns out the problem wasn’t his ears at all. It was his nose–specifically all the pollution he was breathing during class dives, as he perched on the dive platform assisting students and sucking fumes.
“In technical terms, your eustachian tube function is directly dependent on mucociliary clearance, or your ability to clear the naturally occurring mucus from your airways,” says Grossan. More simply, if your head is stuffed like a Christmas stocking, your ears will follow suit. Once Story avoided inhaling the boat fumes while the boat was idling, he was back in business, says Grossan.
That’s the story of ear pain. It’s common, annoying, and it can and does afflict even the most experienced divers.
The Big Squeeze
There are many causes of ear pain, but the most common culprit is “ear squeeze,” the pain that occurs because of differences in pressure between the middle ear and the outside environment.
Like the inside of a primitive bongo, your middle ear is an air-filled space formed by bone and capped with a vibrating membrane, the eardrum. It connects to your throat through a flexible tunnel of muscle and cartilage called the eustachian tube. When the pressure of the outside world is different from that of the middle ear, such as when you’re flying in a plane or scuba diving, the tunnel widens, allowing increased airflow through, which equalizes the pressure. As you drop deeper into the water, you assist this process by swallowing, yawning or gently pushing air through the tubes to equalize the pressure. If the eustachian tube fails to perform properly, or the pressure change happens more rapidly than the tube can adjust, the eardrum is pushed painfully inward, causing a “squeeze.”
Descending through crushing ear squeeze is like overinflating a balloon; you can push only so far before something pops, and in this case it’s your eardrum. At that point, the pain subsides and is replaced by dizziness, nausea and hearing loss as cold water streams into the middle ear. A ruptured eardrum generally heals well with some medical assistance, but it puts a serious damper on a diving trip, as you can’t swim or dive until it is fully healed.
Occasionally, a diver who has trouble equalizing will emerge with a pressure-related injury known as barotrauma or barotitis, which causes lingering ear pain, fullness, dizziness or ringing in the ears. You also may get a buildup of fluid in the middle ear, causing uncomfortable ear fullness and hearing loss.
Ear pain and difficulty equalizing is often the result of respiratory problems, which means mucus buildup or swelling is blocking the tube from opening properly, says medical dive researcher Captain Marie Knafelc, M.D., Ph.D. “If you have a head cold or allergies, you’ll need to properly deal with your congestion before you can clear,” she says.
If ear pain is a problem for you, these clearing tips can help:
Avoid irritants. Cigarette smoke, boat fumes and exposure to allergens (like breathing recirculated air in a plane) can increase swelling and congestion around your eustachian tubes and make it difficult to clear. Try to breathe fresh, clean air just before a dive. If necessary, take a decongestant like Sudafed, but only if you have a history with the drug and know you tolerate it well.
Strive at five. Try to clear your ears about every five feet. If you get stuck, unable to clear at some point, go back up five feet and try again, suggests Grossan. “If you’re at 15 feet and can’t equalize, it means you have too much pressure on the eustachian tube opening. Ascending a few feet may relieve that pressure.”
Let it build. Overaggressive ear clearing, that is, pushing air through too often, can not only stretch the eardrum, causing pain, but also can traumatize the eustachian tube, making it even harder to clear with each successive dive, says Knafelc. Novice divers are particularly prone to this problem because they’re eager to clear right away. “Some people, especially those with narrow tubes, may find that they need to let a little pressure build so their ears feel ‘full’ and hearing is muted, before they can ‘pop’ them open,” she says.
Easy does it. Closing your mouth, pinching your nose and gently blowing air into your mouth and nose can help open stubbornly blocked ears, but always be gentle, and never force it, warns Grossan. There are two small membranes called the oval and round windows that separate the middle from the inner ear. If you blow as hard as you can into your mouth and nose while trying to equalize, you risk blowing a hole in one of these windows, which can cause permanent hearing damage.
Go feet-first. “Your body is a big bag of liquid,” says Grossan, “and when you dive head-first, gravity pulls fluid into your head, which accumulates in the eustachian tube opening and forces it shut. It’s like standing on your feet too long; everything swells. Feet-first is better for ear clearing.”
Stretch it out. Narrow eustachian tubes easily collapse on themselves under pressure. If equalizing is difficult, try tilting your head to the side first. This will stretch out, and hopefully open, the tube, says Knafelc.
Try a natural remedy. If too much mucus seems to be keeping you from clearing (and you don’t have an upper respiratory infection), try a “home remedy” like hot tea to thin your mucus, so your body can clear it more easily. You can also try an over-the-counter remedy like Clear-Ease, which contains the fruit enzymes papain from papaya and bromelain from pineapple. These compounds have anti-inflammatory properties and may help thin mucus. For the best results, start taking it a couple of days before a dive.
Can You Hear Me Now?
If you’re having lingering hearing loss, ringing in the ears or dizziness after a dive, see a doctor, and insist on an audiogram, a special hearing test to determine the root cause of the problem. “Too often, someone will see a doctor because they are having trouble hearing, and the physician sees that their eardrum is intact, meaning it’s not ruptured, or that it’s red, so they assume that nothing is really wrong or there’s a simple infection,” says ear, nose and throat specialist Murray Grossan, M.D. “That’s dangerous because those symptoms may indicate perilymph fistula (PLF) or a blowout of the round window of the inner ear, one of the most serious complications of diving,” says Grossan. “It’s important that any PLF be diagnosed and treated in a timely manner because it can lead to permanent hearing damage.”
90,000 Barotrauma of the ear upon impact with water
As they say, the sun, air and water are our best friends, but despite this popular opinion, swimmers and divers have a number of occupational diseases, in particular of the ears.
Dr. M. Wang and colleagues from the otolaryngology department of Taipei Veterans Hospital, Taiwan, published a study on occupational otolaryngological diseases in swimmers and divers. People who spend a lot of time in or under water are characterized by acute diffuse otitis externa, otomycosis, exostosis, traumatic rupture of the tympanic membrane, middle ear infections, and inner ear barotrauma.
As a sport, kiteboarding is characterized by frequent falls and hits on the water, which can sometimes result in barotrauma.
The apparatus of the middle ear has dead spaces filled with air and connected to the outside world only with the help of the Eustachian tubes that open inside the nasopharynx.
Each of the two Eustachian tubes has a kind of one-way valve that opens into the nasopharynx. It has a protective function by blocking infection from entering the middle ear.Opening the tubes allows higher pressure air to flow from the throat to the middle ear. This is usually a conscious human action. Usually, simple swallowing gives this effect.
In fact, you unconsciously equalize the pressure in your ears many times a day. Oxygen is constantly absorbed by the tissues of the middle ear.
Thus, the air pressure in it decreases. When you swallow, the stretching muscles of the soft palate open the Eustachian tubes and open the way for air. When you do this, you hear a faint jolt or click.
Barotrauma. Damage to the middle ear as a result of sudden changes in atmospheric pressure. It occurs during an explosion, working in caissons, among pilots, divers, and upon impact on water. With an increase in atmospheric pressure, if it does not equalize in a timely manner in the middle ear through the auditory tube, the tympanic membrane retracts, with a decrease, it protrudes. Sudden changes in atmospheric pressure are transmitted through the eardrum and ossicular chain to the inner ear and negatively affect its function.Barotrauma may even be accompanied by a rupture of the eardrum.
The main cause of barotrauma is a rapid change in pressure and the inability of the middle ear to compensate for this change, which is facilitated by factors, the most important of which is a violation of the patency of the auditory tube. Edema of the mucous membrane and narrowing of the mouths of the Eustachian tubes are observed in inflammatory processes in the nasopharynx, and in cold water and in healthy individuals.
The middle ear is most sensitive to barotrauma, the lesion of which is in the nature of barotitis.Acute pain appears in the ear, frontal and maxillary (maxillary) sinuses, a feeling of congestion in the ears. There is a decrease in hearing, otoscopy reveals hyperemia of the tympanic membrane (Fig., A), and in some cases its rupture (Fig., B), which may be accompanied by bleeding from the ear. The wound surface in case of rupture of the tympanic membrane is treated with solutions of disinfectants; in the future (within 2-3 days), it is advisable to instill vasodilating drugs into the nose. Barootitis with rupture of the tympanic membrane can be complicated by acute purulent otitis media.
Symptoms, course. At the moment of barotrauma, a sharp “blow” to the ear and severe pain are felt. There is a decrease in hearing, sometimes dizziness, noise and ringing in the ears. With a ruptured eardrum, bleeding from the external auditory canal.
If there is no rupture of the tympanic membrane, a sterile cotton ball is inserted into the ear canal. In case of rupture of the membrane, you should carefully blow in sulfa powder or antibiotics, apply a sterile dressing to the ear.
– Drugs that reduce swelling of the nasal mucosa
– Antibacterial drugs (in case of infection).
– Adrenomimetic agents are contraindicated in arterial hypertension
If signs of ear barotrauma appear, consult a doctor. He will diagnose the damage and prescribe nasal drops that absorb tissue blocks in the Eustachian tubes, or antibiotics if there is a suspicion of nasopharyngeal infection.Special treatment for barotitis is not necessary – it is enough to wait until the health of the middle ear is restored, which usually takes from two days to two weeks. During this period, you cannot dive and fly, otherwise repeated injury will occur. You should not cough and sneeze heavily at this time, and you should also not forcefully blow your nose.
After a bursting of the tympanic membrane, treatment can take up to three months, and in some cases even require surgical intervention.
Can I continue to ride with barotrauma?
So, after skating, you came out with a pain in your ears. You have a feeling that your ears are filled with something (this is blood and mucus), and you cannot hear 100%. You have middle ear barotrauma.
On the whole, however, you are feeling well. The question is, can you continue to ride in this state? Some riders do this, but they run the risk of losing their hearing completely or impairing the function of the vestibular system.
In addition, there is a real risk of infection.Remember that you cannot be sure that you may have damaged your inner ear at the same time. The symptoms of inner ear barotrauma do not always appear immediately and are expressed quite clearly.
All medical advice says that if you have middle ear barotrauma, get out of the water and do not ride until a doctor’s examination.
How to protect yourself from barotrauma?
Of course, the use of a protective helmet with closed ears eliminates this problem. Starting to ride for the first time after an injury or if you have had ear pains before (i.e.That is, the patency of the Eustachian corpses may be impaired due to the inflammatory process), or just rolling in cold weather (cold water causes swelling of the mucous membrane), use earplugs. Closing the external auditory canal, they are rather reliably fixed, taking the shape of the auditory canal. And protect against cold water and pressure drops when hitting water.
For the same purposes, a waterproof audio player is suitable, the headphones of which are made in the form of earplugs, and not only will allow you to listen to music, but also save your ears if you fall.
Sulfur plug can be the cause of hearing loss after falling into water.
Sulfur plug – accumulation of earwax in the external ear canal. Normally, earwax serves as a natural lubricant for the walls of the external auditory canal. S. of the item is formed as a result of hypersecretion of the sulfur glands located in the external auditory canal and the increased viscosity of sulfur. The narrowness and tortuosity of the external auditory canal contribute to the accumulation of sulfur. At first it is soft, with time the S. of the item becomes dense and even stony; its color is light yellow or dark brown.Sometimes the plug consists mainly of a deflated epidermis – an epidermal plug.
If S. of the item does not completely close the lumen of the ear canal, it does not cause any disturbances. When the lumen is closed, a feeling of ear congestion and hearing loss, autophony (resonance of one’s own voice in the superimposed ear) appear. These disorders develop suddenly, most often when water gets into the ear canal while bathing, washing the head (the sulfur plug swells at the same time) or when a match or hairpin is manipulated in the ear.If S. of the item presses on the walls of the ear canal and the eardrum, coughing, dizziness, noise in the ear, dysfunction of the sound-conducting apparatus occur. S.’s presence of the item is established on the basis of anamnesis, clinical picture and otoscopy data. Remove S. p. Rinsing the ear with warm water.
Sometimes it is preliminarily softened, for which 10 drops are instilled into the ear for 2-3 days, 3 times a day, an alkaline solution heated to 37 ° C (after instillation, it is necessary to lie down for 10-15 minutes).In this case, due to swelling of the plug, hearing may temporarily deteriorate.
2007 August © Copyright kite portal Kites.Ru Mikhail Soloveykin
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90,000 Water ingress into the ear – first aid for adults and children – Dobrobut clinic
What to do if water gets into your ear
Getting water into your ear is an unpleasant situation that needs to be corrected. If not treated promptly, water in the ear can cause serious inflammatory and infectious diseases (with damage to the eardrum).In any case, everyone needs to know what to do if water gets into the ear.
Providing First Aid
The recommendations below can be used to get rid of water in the ear for both an adult and a child. And it doesn’t matter where exactly the trouble happened – at home after swimming in the bathroom or on the beach near the reservoir. What can be done as first aid:
- Jump on one or two legs, tilting the head to the side corresponding to the stuffed ear.Usually one minute of active jumping is enough to get rid of the problem.
- How to remove water from a child’s ear if he does not yet know how to jump or does not understand how to do it? The parent should put his hand to the child’s blocked ear, press down with force and then abruptly remove. Under the influence of the air flow, the existing water block is destroyed.
- Can be used by professional divers and swimmers. To get rid of the unpleasant sensation, you need to draw more air into the lungs, then, holding your nose with your fingers, blow with force, simulating a deep and powerful exhalation.This is how the water plug comes out of the ears.
What to do if the ear is blocked from water and hurts
It often happens that the sensation of water in the ear is painful, and the above first aid methods do not help. The best option in this case is to seek qualified medical help. But if the ear is blocked from water and hurts, and there is no opportunity to visit a doctor, then you can do the following:
- Make a flagellum out of cotton wool and clean the ear with it.A cotton swab (ear) is not suitable for this procedure, since it cannot absorb water, which is the first priority.
- You can just lie on a flat surface (without a pillow) on the side where the ear is. Under the weight of the head, the water will come out on its own and relief will come.
- If seawater enters the ear and does not come out, then you can drip 1-2 drops of alcohol and wait 3-5 minutes. The alcohol mixes with water and evaporates. This method can be used to solve the problem not only in adults, but also in children.
- If water gets into the ear after bathing, use hydrogen peroxide. This solution is injected into the problem area in the amount of 1-2 drops, then the earlobe is pulled slightly down and back to the back of the head. In this case, the water will penetrate a little further along the ear canal (this is usually felt), but you should not worry, because in a mixture with hydrogen peroxide it will evaporate quickly enough.
If water gets into the ear of a newborn while bathing, it can only be removed with a cotton flag! It is not worth taking the above methods, it is more advisable to seek help from a doctor.Many parents simply cannot understand exactly which ear the water got into and whether there is a problem at all. To get rid of doubts after bathing, the baby must first be put on one side, then (after a few seconds) on the other – the water should flow out on its own.
What to do if the ear hurts after taking out the water
Often, ENT patients complain that after getting water in the ear there is an obsessive aching pain. The reason for its appearance is swollen sulfur, which has turned into a dense plug and pressing on the nerve endings.It is unlikely that it will be possible to remove the sulfur plug on your own, but it is quite easy to push it deeper or damage the eardrum. In this case, a specialist will help.
If there is pain, but there is no feeling of ear congestion, then you can do the following:
- Apply dry heat to the ear. This means heated salt or sand, poured into a sock or any textile napkin.
- Put a drop of propolis tincture into the ear. It is imperative to make sure that there is no allergy to this product.
- Apply a vodka compress to the site of pain at night. Vodka is preliminarily diluted with water in a 1: 1 ratio. Failure to do so may result in burns.
For more information on how to get rid of the sensation of water in your ear, visit Dobrobut.com.
Sunstroke and heatstroke
Water has entered the ear. Otolaryngologists recommend!
The simplest problem after bathing is water got into the ear .More difficult is partial hearing loss. Even more serious – the ear hurts and shoots. ENT doctors combine all these diseases with a common name – “bather’s ear”. They are treated in different ways. But almost always, if you behave correctly, you can avoid negative developments.
WATER DOES NOT HURRY TO SPILL
Water remains in the ear, does not pour out, causes discomfort, noise, a feeling of overflow. What to do?
You need to lie down so that your ear with water is at the bottom.And if you lie for a long time, it will still leak out. But the process can be accelerated, make a few such movements as if you are swallowing.
Or jump on one leg, tilting your head and slapping your ear at the same time.
Or take a deep breath and, holding your nose with your hand, try to exhale.
WATER IN THE MIDDLE EAR
Water enters the middle ear only if it has filled the nasal cavity. This happens when diving or if you have swallowed water. The main symptom – the sensation of water deep into the nose and throat – is hard to miss.In this case, you need to contact an otolaryngologist.
Water that gets into the middle ear usually causes lumbago and ear congestion.
Swimming in the sea with a child may result in complaints of ear pain. It is not always possible to explain their occurrence. Perhaps just discomfort due to water ingress. There may be more serious reasons. For example, infected water can cause ear inflammation.
Otitis media, in addition to ear pain, is manifested by a decrease in hearing, an increase in body temperature.The danger is represented by the complications and consequences of improper treatment in the form of subsequent hearing loss.
Normally, the protective mechanisms of the external auditory canal prevent the spread of harmful microorganisms.
- traumatic injury to the outer ear,
- long exposure to humid environment,
- chronic diseases of the child.
The anatomical features of the structure of the outer ear in children, impaired immunity, water ingress into the ears also have an effect.
The nature of the process in the ears will be determined by an otolaryngologist. Will conduct an examination and additional examinations. According to the indications, he will prescribe treatment.
To prevent the development of ear diseases: ⠀
- After bathing, dry your ears thoroughly.
- Be sure to shake out all water from your ears and rinse them with clean water. To do this, tilt your head to the side towards the ear, into which the water has entered. If it does not work out, then you need a specialist consultation.
- Observe ear hygiene.
- Temper, maintain a balanced diet for the child.
- Treat runny nose and colds in a timely manner.
Do not self-medicate. If you suspect an ear problem, see your doctor.
Medakom Medical Center. We are trusted with invaluable children!
90,000 “If after diving in the pool your ears hurt and you feel pressure on your ears
There are two main reasons why your ear hurts after diving in the pool or the sea.
One of them is the pressure difference. When we dive under water, more pressure begins to act on us than that which acts on us on land. When a person dives or dives under water, the areas of the hearing organ are subjected to pressure drops. The eardrum is under great stress, since the density of the medium literally pushes it towards the inner ear. Under the action of water pressure, the membrane bends inward, stretches. This causes pain in the ears when diving under water.
The second reason is otitis externa – an acute inflammatory disease that affects the auricle and the tissues of the external auditory canal.
This diagnosis is often given to people who are somehow related to swimming (the disease is also called “swimmer’s ear”). For swimmers or divers, water constantly enters their ears, which contributes to the penetration of infections.
In swimmers, with prolonged contact with water, the most common form of the disease is diffuse, when the entire outer ear is affected.
Symptoms of otitis externa:
- Pain in the ear;
- feeling of fullness; 90 070
- congestion in the ear;
- itching in the ear canal;
- white plaque in the ear canal (if the causative agent of otitis media is fungi)
- enlarged lymph nodes
- body temperature may rise.
Otitis externa is treated by an otolaryngologist.
Complex therapy of otitis externa is aimed at eliminating infection, stopping the inflammatory process, relieving unpleasant symptoms and strengthening the immune system.
The treatment regimen for otitis externa may include:
- antibacterial drops (Anauran, Sofradex, Ciprofarm)
- antiseptic drugs that are instilled into the ear canal
- oral antibiotics (Augmentin, Amoxiclav and etc.)
- anti-inflammatory and pain relieving drops (Otipax or Otinum)
- pain relievers (Pentalgin, Nurofena, etc.)
- antihistamines to relieve puffiness (Suprastin, Zodak “,” Tavegil “and others.).
Treatment should be accompanied by a toilet of the outer ear – cleansing it of secretions – and rinsing the ear with medicinal solutions. These manipulations are fully carried out in the ENT clinic.
Physiotherapy procedures will help speed up recovery: infrared laser therapy, ultraviolet radiation, vibroacoustic therapy and ultrasound therapy.
Only an ENT doctor can determine the true cause of the discomfort when diving into the water.
If you have any questions about ENT-related issues or need professional help from an ENT doctor, I will be happy to help. I’m on!
Doctor Zaitsev and the team is a narrow-profile, specialized, well-equipped clinic in the very center of Moscow with excellent specialists. Get ready and come! We will be happy to help.
Samara City Clinical Hospital №8 News
When water enters the ear, it can get stuck in winding passages. Gradually, the sulfur that is in the ears of every person swells, and it becomes even more difficult to remove the water.There may be a feeling of congestion, hearing impairment, the sound of water flowing, pain.
Worse if the fluid reaches the middle ear. It cannot flow from the outside – the middle ear is covered by the eardrum. But bypassing the water will reach him. In the nose, a passage opens into the Eustachian tube, which leads directly to the middle ear. This pipe is needed to equalize the pressure, which presses on the membrane from the outside, so that they do not “fall through” due to a possible difference.
Through the Eustachian tube, when diving and choking on the nose, water can be thrown directly into the middle ear.This problem is more serious, shooting pains and congestion are added to the symptoms. Trying to remove it is not worth it – usually the sulfur plug is clogged even deeper. The ENT doctor uses a special flushing syringe and ear drops to remove wax.
First, listen to your sensations, notice at what moment there was a sensation of water entering your ear. This will help determine how serious the situation is and where the water might have ended up. And first, you can try to remove moisture in safe ways:
First of all, you need to blot the auricle with a dry napkin, consistently take a deep breath and exhale (with an open mouth), repeat the manipulations, closing your lips.If the actions are performed correctly, first there will be a sensation of water in the ear, then a characteristic click will appear, the liquid will flow out, and the hearing will be restored.
A simple massage helps to get water from the middle ear: for example, the head is slightly tilted to the side, rotational movements are made with the palm of the hand along the auricle. Such manipulations allow you to pull out the fluid (due to the pressure difference) that is stuck in the ear canal.
How to remove water from the ear after the pool: you need to stand on one leg, tilt your head to one side, make a few jumps.The described actions are repeated on the other leg.
How else to remove water from the ears if the liquid does not come out on its own: lie on your side, having previously put a towel under your head, imitate chewing, yawn.
If all these manipulations did not help you, and the discomfort is present for more than 3-4 days, you can make an appointment with an ENT doctor by phone: 956-49-36.
90,000 Dived – and it hurts? Looks like otitis media
You can dive only if the nasal passages are free, there is no nasal congestion, nothing pours out of it.There should be absolutely no signs of inflammation in the nose – just like in the ear. It is desirable that the water is not lower than + 22-23 degrees, the air is 3-5 degrees warmer. This will avoid hypothermia. For the prevention of otitis externa, you need to clean the ear canal – thoroughly, but without fanaticism. This is done with the help of special drops for removing sulfur plugs (for example, remo-wax): they are instilled at the rate of 20 drops into each ear for 40 minutes or at night, after which the ear canal is washed.It is necessary to expel the water from the ear after each zanyr: you can, for example, pull the auricle back and slightly up. Or make a few chewing or yawning movements – the skin will begin to move and the water will come out more easily. Or lie down for a while with your ear in which water has accumulated. If the water “stands” in the ear for a long time, the matter is most likely in soggy earwax: next to the eardrum there is a small depression where the wax accumulates, limiting the movement of the membrane – this gives a feeling of fluid in the ear, congestion.If this sensation persists for more than 2-3 days, it is best to see a doctor.
A familiar river is better than a strange sea
Vacation ear problems most often turn out to be otitis externa, which is also called swimmer’s ear. This is an inflammation of the skin of the ear canal, which occurs for two reasons: the first is hypothermia, the second is a bacterial infection obtained during bathing. Hypothermia is perceived by most of us one-sidedly – it seems to us that it is possible to overcool only if the heat outside is +40, and you succumbed to the temptation to pour water from a well or jump into a mountain river.In fact, everything is much more prosaic: if the air temperature is, say, + 30, and the water in the river or the sea is +22 (that is, it is quite bathing), you can easily overcool. In this sense, any situation is dangerous when the air and water temperatures are very different, and it does not matter in which direction – it can be colder outside than in water. The body is under stress, immunity decreases, including local immunity, that is, the protection of the skin of the ear canal – here are the conditions for the development of otitis externa. Typical symptoms: soreness when touching the auricle, redness and irritation of the ear canal, pain when pressing on the tragus, discomfort when yawning, swallowing, talking.And if hearing decreases, it means that the inflammation has spread to the eardrum.
Otitis externa caused by a bacterial infection is also easy to get. Any body of water in the area where a person is for the first time can become a source of problems: the microflora living there is unknown to his body, he does not know how to protect himself from it, therefore, inflammations develop faster and easier than after swimming in a familiar pond or river. Closed reservoirs in this sense are much more dangerous, but after swimming in a river or sea, problems may arise.The sea is home to a mass of microscopic living creatures that can easily get into a bather’s ear.
Both hypothermia and unnecessary microflora are the main causes of problems with the nose. It is not difficult to buy in addition to sinusitis. Especially if the bather is a big diving enthusiast. Due to the pressure drop and, again, hypothermia, swelling of the nasal mucosa often develops. Further, the edema can spread to the mucous membrane of the auditory tube. The lumen of the auditory tube closes, an inflammatory process occurs and – otitis media.As for the nose, due to edema of the mucous membrane, the outlets from the sinuses of the nose into its cavity can close – these are the conditions for the development of sinusitis and frontal sinusitis, which is more difficult, and is treated, and is dangerous with intracranial complications.
Otitis and sinusitis are quite common problems for vacationers, some of them face almost every summer. But at the same time, they still do not know where to run and what to do if they take it. ENT doctor Alexander Razvozzhaev answers the most common questions of would-be vacationers.
What should I do if my ear hurts?
– If there is no hearing loss, you can drop drops such as otipax or anauran. If you feel congestion or the ear hears worse than usual, you should not drip anything until the doctor checks for a perforation of the eardrum! For pain in the ear, you can lubricate the ear canal with an eye ointment – chloramphenicol, tetracycline, hydrocortisone, this will reduce inflammation. But it is better not to bury alcohol solutions – they themselves irritate the skin of the ear canal.In addition, we do not know the reaction of a particular patient to such a stimulus, and it can be very different – up to powerful pain sensations.
How not to bring a runny nose to sinusitis?
– It is necessary from the first days to ensure that the nose is free all the time. This requires vasoconstrictor drops and a solution for rinsing the nose (aquamaris, aqualor, physiomer, etc. – sold in the pharmacy). We bury drops – 3-4 in each nostril, after 15–20 minutes we rinse the nasal cavity with a solution.These activities should be repeated 3-4 times a day, ensuring that the nose breathes well. If it does not help or if you have ear disease, you need to go to the doctor.
Is sea water good for the nose?
– Theoretically, the procedure for rinsing the nose with ordinary sea water could be called useful, if not for a few “buts”: we do not know the concentration of salts in a particular water – as a rule, it is higher than acceptable for the nasal mucosa. Such water will dry out the mucous membrane.The microbiological composition of water is also unknown to us – it may contain any pathogens, with which in the future, if a disease occurs, it can be very difficult to fight. A runny nose from rinsing with sea water really often goes away, but what will happen to the nasal mucosa later – what damaging effect a highly concentrated saline solution had on it, is difficult to assume.
90,000 what to do, how to treat a child, an adult
Summer is associated with the sea and pools where you can swim even all day.After bathing, water often gets into the ear, which causes pain. ENT doctor Ekaterina Dovlatova told what actions the first aid should consist of for adults and children.
The physician notes that there is no universal treatment for this symptom. This is because this pain can have two different causes with similar manifestations: ear pain, hearing loss, discharge from the ear (in both cases, it may or may not be absent).
See also: Ear pain: the most common causes
Main causes of ear pain after bathing
1.Acute otitis externa
Water regularly enters the external ear canal, it washes away the wax, leaving the skin of the canal defenseless and susceptible to all kinds of infections that are contained in the water. An inflammatory process occurs in the ear, caused by bacteria or fungi. This is called the swimmer’s ear.
Main symptoms: itching in the ear, pain when pressing on the tragus (up to a year in cases of otitis media).
For the treatment of otitis externa, drops with antibiotics, hormones, antifungal agents in various combinations are prescribed.
2. Acute otitis media
An infectious agent (virus, bacteria) enters the nose, causing rhinitis, and spreads to the nasopharynx, including the mouth of the auditory tube. In this case, aeration (ventilation) and outflow from the tympanic cavity (middle ear) are disturbed. Exudate accumulates there – an excellent breeding ground for pathogens.
This is a fluid leaking from small capillary vessels during inflammatory processes and collecting in tissues or cavities of the human body.This is how otitis media occurs.
Main symptoms: most often occurs against the background of a runny nose, can begin with ear congestion, and only then pain appears.
In this case, it is necessary to drip the ear with drugs with an analgesic effect. But it is important that there is no rupture of the eardrum.
To distinguish between these two pathologies and select the optimal drops, otoscopy (examination of the ear) is indispensable.
What to do if a child gets water in the ear
If the ear begins to hurt after swimming and diving in children, the doctor advises giving a systemic pain reliever – medications based on paracetamol and ibuprofen with a dosage corresponding to age.
After that, you need to contact a doctor as soon as possible.
How to get rid of water in the ear
To remove it from there, lie on your side with the right ear down and make a few swallowing movements – the water should pour out.
You can also make a cotton tourniquet and insert it into your ear (just do not try to do this with cotton swabs – you can damage the eardrum). After a while, the cotton wool will absorb the water in the ear.
Another way – the most common, but not the most effective – to jump on one leg , tilting your head.