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WARNING: Don't use ear plugs!

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by daniel1948, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. spt29970

    spt29970 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Santa Barbara, CA
    The excruciating pain was telling you something was seriously wrong! I am surprised you got back into the water without a visit to an ENT doctor, especially since you might have ruptured your eardrum. No vacation is worth risking losing your hearing.
  2. PfcAJ

    PfcAJ Orca

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: St Petersburg, Fl
    I second the motion to go see your ENT doctor. I perforated an eardrum on a freedive ascent a number of years back. No pain, very little bleeding, but I did experience extreme vertigo.

    That little opaque membrane is real important, and if you did damage it and you do not take care of the injury, you could end up with lifelong hearing problems and lose your ability to dive.
  3. DeepDiver36

    DeepDiver36 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Utah
    Daniel. Not sure if this will help you but I have experienced vertigo as well. It took many dives and over a year to figure out my problem.

    I could always descend fairly easily and with no problems. It was during the accent that I started to experience the vertigo. It appears that one ear would self equalize much faster then the other. I compensated until the pressure behind one ear is significantly higher then the other, causing me to spin.

    The solution I found was to equalize on the way up and I always have my buddy close by in case I do start to spin. Of course, I usually chum for fish during such an episode and my day is done.

    I have learned to adapt and overcome. I would imagine the same principle applies if you are using ear plugs and the pressure is significantly different from ear to ear.

    I am sure someone with an MD behind it can enlighten us to what this is called and the proper medical terminology for what causes it.
  4. friscuba

    friscuba Dive Charter

    # of Dives:
    Location: A, A
    It would be interesting to know if you had the vented Pro Plugs for scuba, or if you had the regular ones for surfing... different plugs... you don't say. Also, these plugs have a very good reputation, and are used by a lot of divers, including a lot of instructors. It's always possible that it was something other than the plugs, if you were using the vented plugs, that caused your problem, and the fact that you were wearing the plugs when the problem occurred was unrelated.
  5. Gen San Chris

    Gen San Chris Barracuda

    # of Dives:
    Location: Philippines
    Sounds to me that ear plugs are just not for you!
  6. daniel1948

    daniel1948 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Spokane, WA
    To answer some of the questions above:

    These were indeed the vented plugs, but I did not actually check to make sure the vents were open, and as I have thrown them away, it's too late to check now. I do not typically have a lot of wax built-up, so I don't think that was the problem, but I cannot completely rule it out.

    I concluded that I had not punctured the eardrum because my hearing is not affected. Once my ears dried out, I listened to my iPod, alternately removing one earbud and then the other, and could not detect a difference. But I will take the advice above and visit the doctor once I get over the head cold I picked up on the way home (17 exhausting hours of travel in one day).

    Clearly, they are not for me, and from now on I will just endure the uncomfortable feeling of water in my ears after diving. And considering that some of you report using them without problems, I will downgrade my warning from "Don't ever use them" to "Be aware they can cause serious problems."

    I've never been allergic to anything, so I doubt an allergy was the issue.

    Of course, it is always possible that the problem was unrelated to the earplugs, but I was not doing anything different on that dive, except using them. I also cannot be sure that they were the right size, but I did use the sizing kit before ordering them. And I cannot be sure I had them in properly, but they felt good before I entered the water.
  7. Steve50

    Steve50 Master Instructor

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: USA - around the middle
    How about drops in the ear canal after the dive, 50/50 alcohol and vinegar. Dries em up, cleans em out.
  8. ScubaSteve

    ScubaSteve Wow.....what a DB

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Acton, Ontario
    As most others are saying, there really is nothing wrong with using the Doc Pro Plugs. I know three divers who use them with tremendous success. Circumstances sometimes just happen to lead up to "the perfect storm" (your situation in this case) and it is easiest to lay 100% of the blame on the plugs. Your situation was an unfortunate one and I am glad that you came out on the positive side, but your broad statement warning all people away from plugs in unnecessary. Many divers wear the plugs and you just happened to have a bad experience.

    Safe diving.
  9. Rick Inman

    Rick Inman Advisor ScubaBoard Supporter


    Ahhh, a couple hundred more dives and you won't even think about it. :eyebrow:
  10. Brewski

    Brewski Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Alaska / Florida / In the air between the two.
    I would echo the need to see a doctor to find out if you have damaged anything. The description of the level of pain you experienced doesn't sound too good at all.
    I have been using Docs pro plugs for years. they work as advertised. I wonder if you received the non vented plugs instead of the vented plugs?

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