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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

    Hi all,

    Thank you for the your concerns, I will keep a positive outlook.

    Regarding the ear that can still hear, the risk all doctors/specialists are concerned about is the possibility of losing further hearing should an unthinkable happens, although the chance is quite rare, there is still a possibility nevertheless. In their opinions, risks out-weight benefits, and snorkeling is as good as diving (which I doubt).

    As for the microtia side, i,e. the deaf side, no one can be sure of its suitability for diving as there is no ENT specialist with diving knowledge or vice versa in my area unfortunately.

    One person did mention something about pressurized chamber, but apparently the waiting list is long and mainly reserved for emergency purpose. This may be a worthwhile route to pursuit perhaps.
  2. knotical

    knotical perpetual student

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Ka'u
    You mention that you snorkel, but haven't said whether you free-dive (AKA skin-dive or breath-hold dive). i.e. do you ever submerge while snorkeling? If you do submerge, how does your impacted side react?
  3. lulubelle

    lulubelle Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    I have some friends who work for DAN here in Durham NC. Let me see if they can get in touch with the dive medicine trained ENT here to pose your question. Meanwhile, perhaps a good hyperbaric doc could put you through some graduated testing in a chamber to determine the effects on diving. I can imagine a scenario where you might have some depth limits, but there is a lot of good diving about 60 feet! Don't give up just yet, but do your homework first. I spent many an hour on the phone with DAN and seeing the proper dive medicine physicians before I did my OW. One thing of note is that there are that which is known and that which is unknown. DAN classifies many conditions as "relative risk" conditions which means that some people/situations exist where diving is contraindicated, and some people/situations exist where it may be reasonable for them to dive. The "grey" area. That is where the expert guidance comes in. For instance migraines. If you had weird neuro symptoms mimicking DCS or had migraines during a dive, it may not be acceptable for you to dive. Or if your migraines are classic and are not associated with diving, it may be acceptable for you to dive.

    It seems to me that the real question is can you safely equalize and adjust to pressure gradients. To me, it seems that the risk to your good ear, which is a risk that ALL of us have, is your risk to assume or not. It is just that in your case, if that ear is damaged, you have lost a lot more than those of us with two good ears have.

    I've got my finger crossed for you, and I'll let you know if I find anything out here.
    awap likes this.
  4. lulubelle

    lulubelle Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    OK Z1000, I have shot a note off to my DAN friend to see if she can reach out to this DAN/ENT doc.

    I will also PM you a link to her practice. You might consider writing her a letter. Really. Don't ask for specific medical advice, she can't see and evaluate you. But you could pose the questions about whether or not she considered your diagnosis an absolute or relative risk, and if it was a relative risk in her opinion, what assessments would be necessary to deem you dive ready.

    Be prepared that she might not respond since you are not a patient, and she might respond with the same answer as the others. But if an ENT who knows your disorder, and who knows diving, says you should not dive, then I suspect that you should move on to other pursuits.

    Good luck.
  5. Griffo

    Griffo DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sydney, Australia
    My first ever diving was "discovery dives" in Thailand and was not asked for a medical...
    Then in Vanuatu I actually gave the agency my medical that I had organised in Austalia, but they seemed suprised and certainly hadn't asked for it.
    Just saying.
  6. gamacrab

    gamacrab Garibaldi

    Did you ever get an answer on if you can dive or not?
  7. j2my

    j2my Garibaldi

    # of Dives:
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Hi Z,
    I'm so sorry to hear tht u will not b able to dive..... I'm actually hav d same problem as yours.... I'm another unilateral microtia "dude"....
    I'm not too sure if mine is grade 1 or 2.... I went to consult doc when I was 14, n I'm now 30~
    I hav sum question to all these good divers put there. Since I'm another unilateral microtia, so I would like to know if I'm allowed to do scuba diving? I'm planning to go Cairns with my mistress in Nov n I'm jus wondering if I could dive along side with her.... Tq divers
  8. John C. Ratliff

    John C. Ratliff Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Beaverton, Oregon

    I have been diving a long time, but I am also an industrial hygienist who recently was Chair of the Noise Committee for the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA). I applaud your decision! What few people realize is that the ability to hear is more important than the ability to see. The reason it's a greater handicap is that people do not know you cannot hear, and make assumptions based upon what they think they know which are wrong. This creates great hardships for the deaf. My thoughts are that if there is doubt in your mind, you should not dive. Here is another thought on what could happen; pressure changes are not the only problems which can damage hearing in divers...noise itself inherent in the treatment inside a chamber could also damage hearing. Also, gas emboli in the inner ear can damage hearing. There will be others trying to convince you otherwise, but I will not be among them. There is more to life than diving, although diving has greatly enriched my life those are not the only experiences available out there.


    John C. Ratliff, CSP, CIH, MSPH
    (CSP, Certified Safety Professional; CIH, Certified Industrial Hygienist)
  9. tracydr

    tracydr Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina, 3 miles from South Carolina
    Sadly, I think if you lived in another country, you would not be having so much trouble with this.
  10. SADS 669

    SADS 669 Angel Fish

    # of Dives:
    Location: Bahamas
    I agree with Mark, diving is all about quality of life and questionnaires and agency's are about ( they have no choice) covering their butts.

    So VERY cautiously give diving a try and find an instructor who really cares about your needs and let him or her figure out the next stages with you, I would for sure find a way ( if at all possible) to get you not only diving but certified.

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