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WARNING: Don't use ear plugs!

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

  1. PfcAJ

    PfcAJ Orca

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: St Petersburg, Fl
    Emphasis mine

    Its a shame that in your copious amounts of experience you haven't learned to treat the PATIENT, not the symptoms. Take a history. Heres some easy physics for you.

    If you remove the air in the outer ear (thats the part OUTSIDE the eardrum) and replace it with water (like what would happen with scuba diving), the water can stay there for a good while. The ear isn't damaged, water is trapped due to weak hydrogen bonds in liquid water that give it a surface tension that can't be broken by the weight of the water alone. I can simulate this with a straw and a cup of water.

    Now, if your patient HASN'T been diving, swimming, etc, complains of pain and typically "fullness" in the ear, then I'll agree with you that it might be a collection of fluid in the middle ear (between the eardrum and oval window). This is all before an exam ever takes place and based on a very weak history. Of course, more detailed examination and history is needed before any conclusion can be made.

    Saying that anytime a person has a sensation of "water in the ear" is indicative of damage is flat out wrong, and you are doing a disservice to the memebers of SB by pontificating such erroneous information.
    oncor23 likes this.
  2. RonFrank

    RonFrank Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Conifer, CO
    Doc Pro plugs made for DIVING should be perfectly safe for divers. I say *should be* ONLY because I have never used them.

    However there is certainly no shortage of those that use them, and promote them on SB.
  3. AbyssalPlains

    AbyssalPlains Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Tucson, AZ
    I'm going out on a limb here, but there are three huge red flags in your post that made me think you may very well HAVE perforated your ear drum: One, the vertigo. That usually only ever occurs if cold water enters the sensitive middle ear where the labyrinth is located. The only way for water to enter that space is through a ruptured ear drum. Second, the sound of air that you mentioned and thirdly, the "level-10 pain." I've put ear drops into a mildly infected ear canal, and yes, it stung a little, but nothing like you describe. Rather, I couldn't help but think you poured the drops through a tear in your ear drum right into your middle ear cavity, and yeah, I bet that hurts like nothing else. I'm just guessing, but I strongly advise to have an ENT check it out. Just my 2 cents.
  4. BerryDiveCenterdotcom

    BerryDiveCenterdotcom Dive Shop

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: CHICAGO
    We sell a lot of the Docs vented air plugs and I have never seen or heard of this happening. You need to make sure that you only use vented plugs while scuba diving.
    I have had a similar experience happen to me while not wearing air plugs at all. I was in Puerto Rico and got separated from my dive buddy and the group on a drift dive. I was running low on air so I decide to make an ascent since I had lost everyone. During my ascent I had a reverse squeeze that I have never experienced before. And next thing you know I had vertigo and was very disoriented with extreme pain in my ears. When you have a reverse squeeze you are suppose to go back down a little and re equalize, but since I was so disoriented and had low air i couldnÃÕ. Once I got to the surface I couldnÃÕ hear out of my left ear and it felt like some one took a hammer to my brain. Once I made it back on the boat the captain was asking what happened and if I was ok. I had blood running down my ear which I didnÃÕ know while I was in the water. I stayed out of diving for 2 months to let everything heal and now I have 96% hearing but my point to the story is I donÃÕ think the plugs played a roll in your ear injury.
  5. 300bar

    300bar ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞

    A ScubaBoard Staff Message...

    This is Basic Scuba,where off topic,flames AND Trolls are NOT allowed.
    They have been removed.Please stay on topic or go play somewhere else
    Thank you
  6. hardin

    hardin Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: South Carolina
    OK diver...... I don't know how many dives you have, what your level of training in diving or medicine is, or what gives you the intestional fortitude to basically tell anyone that has experienced pain in the ears on a dive to more or less forget about it or just sit it out for a day or two but your lack of experience in diving or medicine has shown through with frightening affect. I pray you are not in medicine as malpractice insurance fees are out of sight because of folks giving out the same erroneous information to the less learned or experienced. I also hold deep concerns about your diving certification as the insurance fees for diving pros are already out of sight & getting worse. I know as I have been paying these fees for more years than you have been obviously diving.
    Now for the best advice advice I can give anyone & it comes from a medical practitioner of many years & a diving instructor that also goes back decades. Pain in NOT a normal symptom of any body part or function. It is your body telling you to seek PROFESSIONAL care & to do it as soon as possible. To ignore pain is a sign of gross ignorance on the part of the indiividual. As I learned at the Medical University where I recieved a lot of training............. Pressure is a sign of impending damage to tissue........ Pain is an absolute sign of damage being done to tissue. If it hurts enough to make you top what you are doing & think about it...... By God see a medical professional. Point stated....... Point made!!!
  7. daniel1948

    daniel1948 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Spokane, WA

    I saw my doctor today. (Thanks to everyone who recommended that. Always a good idea.) He listened to my detailed description of the events, and he examined my ears. The result was that he said there is no damage to my eardrum and no evidence of any trauma to it. He offered to give me a referral to an ENT if I wanted, but said that he personally did not think it necessary. I trust my doctor. He has never been reluctant to send me to a specialist when he thinks it appropriate, and I trust him when he says he thinks it isn't.

    He thinks the most likely explanation is that there was enough pressure to cause some stretching, and that would have made it susceptible to pain from the drops, but that that sort of thing heals quickly, as in fact the pain had completely disappeared the next day. This is essentially the same thing the boat captain thought.

    He gave me a clean bill of health and told me to go ahead and plan my next diving trip. (Though in fact I'll have several non-diving trips before I go diving again: I have multiple interests, of which diving is only one.)

    Based on the replies to my story, I retract my blanket statement that nobody should ever use ear plugs, but I am confident that in my case, the vented plugs did not function as advertised, and did cause my problem. Thanks for all the replies and advice. I value everyone's input.
  8. mullen1200

    mullen1200 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: South Florida
    Ruptured eardrums are HORRIBLE. Ugh. I perforated mine by trying to force some equalization (was only my second dive), so I know the pain that you felt. I also dove twice on the perforation, just dealing with the pain because I thought it was just a blockage ( it took me 3x as long to equalize as normal.) Anytime I hit the water hard (dive into a wave, go more then 6-7 ft in a pool) the pain would return and I'd be groaning in pain for a few minutes. I just had a paper patch put on my eardrum, and that was a horrible experience as well.. Very hard lesson learned... ugh.
  9. mullen1200

    mullen1200 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: South Florida
    when I perfed my ear, this is exactly what I felt. I should have realized it with the vertigo and all that. (Yes I had the extreme vertigo, extreme pain, and the air sounds). Someone had to come grab me by the shoulders and kinda guide me along.

    Edit: Didnt mean to revive an old topic. Forgot that I had searched for topics
  10. Nemrod

    Nemrod Solo Diver

    If you are going to scuba dive there are certain things that come with the territory, one is water in your ears and another is water in your eyes and another is water up your nose. Any attempts to use odd pieces of equipment, ear plugs, nose clips, full face masks, dry snorkels to circumvent these facts can lead to comical solutions to a non issue or even serious damage to your body. N

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