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Inner ear barotrauma

Discussion in 'Diving Medicine' started by lowflyer, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. lowflyer

    lowflyer ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: SW
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    Does the hearing loss of inner ear barotrauma ever improve? Anything help it?
     
  2. 100days-a-year

    100days-a-year Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: NE Florida
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    Mine came back partially very quick,slowly after that.But I have horrible loss in high frequencies.




    Vertigo the same after 3 days of absolute hell,having to keep my eyes shut to keep from vomiting.
     
  3. lowflyer

    lowflyer ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: SW
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    Thanks 100days..

    But no dive medicine people around here?
     
  4. Murky Waters

    Murky Waters Manta Ray

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  5. Trailboss123

    Trailboss123 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Channel Islands, CA- USA
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    I have only experienced middle ear barotrauma. It took about 2 months to get complete hearing restored and the sense of in-equilibrium to go away. There was nothing I could do to speed up the healing. The fluid in the middle ear had to evaporate on its own and when it did, all symptoms went away.
     
  6. Duke Dive Medicine

    Duke Dive Medicine Medical Moderator Staff Member

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    Lowflyer,

    Improvement typically plateaus after a period of time, though that period, and the level of improvement, vary considerably between individuals. What has your ENT told you?

    Best regards,
    DDM
     
  7. lowflyer

    lowflyer ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: SW
    138
    38
    28
    For now I was hoping that an ENT or dive med guy might have enough experience with inner ear barotrauma patients to have some statistics on the recovery rate (time involved, % improvement if any, etc.) and whether high dose steroid treatment is thought to be effective. As far as steroids go, I'll bet there is no empiric evidence one way or the other. Kind of hard to do a double blind study.

    Down the road I will relate my experience with this, and a call to DAN, as a precautionary tale:)
     
  8. Duke Dive Medicine

    Duke Dive Medicine Medical Moderator Staff Member

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    Statistics don't mean much. It depends on the level of damage in your inner ear, which again varies widely among individual cases of inner ear barotrauma. If your improvement has plateaued (i.e. your hearing is not getting better with the passage of time), it's unlikely that you will see any further improvement. You're right about steroids; sometimes they're offered in the acute setting but with this mechanism of injury, their utility is questionable. Standard treatment of acute IEBT includes strict bed rest with the head of the bed elevated, stool softeners to prevent straining, and surgical exploration if symptoms do not resolve within the first 24 hours.

    Best regards,
    DDM
     
  9. doctormike

    doctormike ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: New York City
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    One point here before commenting further. People very commonly use the term "inner ear" to mean the space behind the eardrum (i.e. the middle ear). Inner ear injuries and middle ear barotrauma are completely different things, so the first order of business is differentiating between the two. Both can involve vertigo, fullness, hearing loss and ear pain. A formal audiogram is necessary to differentiate between a sensorineural hearing loss (Inner ear injury) and a conductive hearing loss (middle ear process). More on this here...

    OP, did you get an audiogram in an audiology booth?

    Assuming that this is a true inner ear process, prognosis and treatment depends on the diagnosis: Inner ear barotrauma, perilymph fistula or inner ear DCS (probably more common than we suspect).
     
  10. Duke Dive Medicine

    Duke Dive Medicine Medical Moderator Staff Member

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    Good point Mike... I assumed that the OP had been properly diagnosed.
     

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