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Can I dive at all?

Discussion in 'Divers with Disabilities' started by z1000, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. z1000

    z1000 Angel Fish

    Just called up to sign myself in a discover dive program, and yes a medical questionnaire is still required.

    The program provider have kindly said once a single doctor has declared me medical unfit due to uncertainty, regardless of any follow up approval from a specialist, they will not even consider taking me on the program. Frustrated, I rang up another provider and got same outcome.

    I understand this is the standard practice in the diving industry, but there are countless people who discover fitness issue after their first dive, at least they were given a chance to find out....... Perhaps there are places in this world where such chance is easily to come by, so I'd prove people wrong.
  2. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canonsburg, Pa
    I do understand your frustration. But as an instructor I have to weigh the risks of you causing yourself serious injury vs your desire to dive. Any instructor who would take you on a dive, even a discover in a pool without a doctors clearance given your condition would be breaking standards and if you were to have an injury I can assure you that his or her insurance would not pay a cent towards any claims and quite likely drop them altogether. This would result in them finding it very difficult to get insured again, should result in their teaching credentials being yanked, and as such they would likely not be able to get work in the industry again. And they should not.

    What some people fail to understand is that when we refuse a student we are usually not just being a prick. We are covering our butts and attempting to keep the person from getting hurt. Despite the ads that say everyone can dive the fact is that's a lie. Not a misunderstanding, or creative advertising. Its a blatant, bald faced lie. Some people should never be underwater on scuba. Including some who are already certified. The responsible instructor will do their best to see to that. The irresponsible ones get people hurt or killed. And sometimes those hurt or killed are the instructors themselves.

    Sent from my BlackBerry 9550 using Tapatalk
    Doppler and Hawkwood like this.
  3. pasley

    pasley Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Lakewood, CA
    In the USA it is their business because they make it their business with lawsuits by the diver or their heirs if something happens claiming "you knew more about the risk than I did and you should have stopped me".

    The OP just needs to consult DAN and/or dive physician who will evaluate him and his circumstaconditionditon and then based on their knowledge of medical conditions as they relate to SCUBA say yes or no.
  4. knotical

    knotical perpetual student

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Ka'u
    That is unfortunate, but seems based on lack of information. Hopefully not all dive shops would take that approach.

    I have no medical credentials, but with no middle ear there should be no middle ear air space on that side to worry about equalizing. Are your sinuses fully developed and open to equalizing?

    I encourage you to continue your efforts, and not be entirely put off by the reactions you have received so far from those dive shops. As others have said, your best bet is to find a dive-knowledgeable physician who can evaluate you. DAN is the best source to find one.

    DAN Asia-Pacific
    DAN Divers Alert Network Asia-Pacific - Your Dive Safety Association
    PO Box 384, Ashburton, Victoria, 3147, Australia
    Phone: +61 -3 9886 9166
    Fax: +61 -3 9886 9155
    Email: info@danasiapacific.org
  5. Hawkwood

    Hawkwood MSDT ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: NA
    I keep going back to the concern of what happens if there is hearing loss or damage to the one ear that works? Unless I have completely misread the OP's first post, he only has hearing in one ear.

    You asked about DAN's position? Well, here it is from their website:

    Hearing Loss/Deafness
    I have a hearing loss in one ear. Is it safe for me to dive?
    Although not common, it is possible for a diver to suffer a significant hearing loss in an ear from a diving accident. This is an individual decision for each diver to make, assisted by advice from your physician. Generally, if the original hearing loss is severe and loss of hearing in the remaining ear would make the person deaf, then my advice would be not to dive. This advice is particularly true if you tend to have difficulty equalizing regularly.
    Jim Lapenta likes this.
  6. scubadiver888

    scubadiver888 Divemaster

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: North America

    From what I read, there is the possibility that you have enough structure to be an issue with scuba diving. A general practitioner will have enough knowledge to be concerned. A specialist should have a deeper knowledge of your condition and the appropriate equipment/training to determine if you are fit to dive.

    I think it might be worth while consulting a specialist.

    Good luck.
  7. z1000

    z1000 Angel Fish

    Hi all,

    Just a quick update. I have received a reply from DAN with a list of dive doctors in my area, basically the email says I have more to lose should anything go wrong, however nothing can stop me from getting the condition assessed by a professional.

    I called seven doctors on the list and briefed them the condition, sadly not a single one has dealt with such condition before, but all agreed it is a risk not worth taking.

    Consulted my long term audiometrist, and again the same conclusion.

    So this is it, thank you everyone for your honest opinion. After a careful consideration and a lack of dive-knowledgeable physician available, I have come to accept my physical limitation, however I will continue to snorkel regardless. Although I miss the magic of diving, there is more than one way to enjoy what the ocean has to offer.

    Be safe and enjoy the wonder of diving.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2011
    aquaregia likes this.
  8. melanie.

    melanie. Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ontario, Canada
    Sorry to hear Z1000. I have been following this thread, but since I had no medical knowledge I didn't comment.

    It really, really, sucks that this is preventing you from diving. This year diving has been my saving grace, it has gotten me through some tough times and I don't know what I would have done without it. So for you not to even be able to experience makes me sad.

    Continue to be optimistic, and with any luck maybe science will change so you too can enjoy the wonders of diving. Take Care
  9. redacted

    redacted Guest

    I am still trying to understand exactly what "risk" they are talking about. Is the risk to your affected ear or your good ear? If I understand your first post, I am assuming that your affected ear is not placed at any particular risk by scuba diving. Is that correct? Is it the risk to your good ear, in spite of your report of no problems equalizing and that you feel is fit for diving that is the reason behind their statement?

    I ask because I too have some hearing problems related to nerve damage (noise) which started 45 to 50 years ago and progressed through 20 years in the Army and has continued to degrade a bit since then. I have one ear that just serves to hold my glasses. The other ear has mild to severe loss depending on frequency range. I get by and only occasionally wear a hearing aide. I do say "what" a lot. Bottom line is I did not let it interfere with my diving and do not intend to. That was MY call. I do have to work a bit harder than most, on the surface, to hear what is going on. Under water, it is absolutely no problem.

    Looking at it another way. If a person is deaf, does that prevent him from being certified and diving?
  10. lulubelle

    lulubelle Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Z1000, I have read your posts, and if I am reading them correctly, you have seen dive medicine physicians, and you have seen ENT specialists, but have you seen an ENT who is ALSO a dive medicine specialist? It seems to me that you need the opinion of someone trained in your disorder as well as in dive medicine before you put this wish aside.

    One of the two community based dive physicians who DAN recommends here is an ENT. I'm sure there are some over there too.

    I have had to piece together the opinion of specialists who were not trained in dive medicine, and dive medicine physicians who were not trained in the specialties which were relevant, so I understand your frustration with trying to get the information you need.

    I'd go a little bit batty if I was given a "red light" based on an absence of knowledge about the risks too. But there is someone out there who really knows the way towards a real answer for you, even if it isn't the one you want. I wonder too if you could to a hyperbaric center where there might be a way to test your tolerance to diving in a controlled environment.

    Good luck, and I hope that you are able to pursue your wish.
    tracydr likes this.

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