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greyzen
09-11-2007, 08:46
So I've not seen a thread about problematic ear issues post-diving and figured I'd make one.

So I was at the lake all weekend and now my left ear feels like some gauze is in it... and it is mildly achy. I've heard of swimmers ear and wonder if that isn't what I'm running into. It seems like it wants to drain but no drainage happens, kinda sucks.

Hemlon
09-11-2007, 08:54
Definitely have it checked. If you need the name of an awesome ENT doc, let me know.

greyzen
09-11-2007, 09:00
Well thats comforting...

I equalized no problem all weekend, and it doesn't really feel worse than allergies (which is kinda what I was thinking it might have been).

Do I have some wierd form of ear-alien now? Am I about to have some strange larval creature erupt from my head to take over the world? :(

Disneymom
09-11-2007, 09:01
greyzen - I started one way back right after I joined the boards.

I have one ear that always gives me fits.
If it's a little sore, you might be trying to get an ear infection. Keep the "ear beer" around and use it after you dive to help kill the little bugs and dry your ear.
Get in and see your doc! Good luck.

Hemlon
09-11-2007, 09:04
Many divers, especially newbies, tend to overcompensate when equalizing. After all, it's a skill that most of us never had to consciously do prior to diving. (or in other activities which cause a change in altitude)

It's possible that they are just sore from too frequent or hard equalizing.
But why chance it?

greyzen
09-11-2007, 09:09
meh, at least it's not an alien... that would be very inconvenient.

Yeah, I've had ear infections before and this don't feel as painful as that was. I suppose I could try me some ear-beer, but I'm also wondering if it isn't soreness (as my jaw on that side kinda tight too).

If it don't clear up by tomorrow I'll talk to the pro's!

fire diver
09-11-2007, 09:16
Sounds exactly like the symptoms of my ear infection I am still fighting. Last weekend (a week ago) I dove my butt off. Spent over 8 hours submerged (good times!). But the next Monday, my left ear felt kinda stuffy and tender. I thought maybe it was from equalizing so many times, it was just sore. NOPE! By Tuesday evening it was really hurting. I went to the minor emergency clinic where the doc said I had an infection. He prescribed a combination of antibiotic/pain/steroid drops. Then the next day my right ear starts hurting. The right one is just now clearing up.

If you still have problems tomorrow, or if it gets worse today, go see a doc.

FD

Subaqua
09-11-2007, 10:35
First, I would suggest you to see a doctor to be sure. I know several divers that use baby oil or almond oil before diving. I believe it's very good to prevent ear infection. If you still get ear infection, I know that one or two drops of tea tree oil is very good (I tried it!).

Good luck

chewyjr15
09-11-2007, 11:19
what exactly is ear beer? how do you use it? make it? does it hurt wheb you use it?

somewhereinla
09-11-2007, 11:23
I think it refers to rubbing alcohol also known as Isopropyl Alcohol. A couple of drop in your hear cannals after diving will help your hear dry faster. Lot's of divers/swimmers use it.

RonFrank
09-11-2007, 11:26
Ears are the number one injury in diving! You NEED to keep your ears healthy, or quit diving.

Does your ear feel like it has water inside? In that case, it's a sign of middle ear damage. Middle ear damage can heal over a few weeks (generally), but if you continue to push it, it can become more damaged, and result in reverse blocks, and worst. I'm not saying that is what you have, but more for general knowledge.

You could in fact have swimmers ear. I pulled this off of a webpage on swimmers ear:


:smiley5:
The most common symptom of swimmer's ear is pain. Pain gradually begins over a day or two. The pain almost always involves only one ear. The pain is especially intense when the ear is touched or pulled.
The outer ear may be red, and the ear canal may be swollen shut.
The ear may drain. This drainage may be clear, white, yellow, or sometimes bloody and foul smelling. Some fluid may crust at the opening of the ear canal.
With severe swelling or drainage, you may have trouble hearing.
Fever is generally not present. If there is a fever, it is not usually high.If this persists, than by all means head to a doctor. Your diving life is too new to screw it up by NOT making a visit to a doctor, and screwing up your ears.

Hemlon
09-11-2007, 11:30
what exactly is ear beer? how do you use it? make it? does it hurt wheb you use it?

Recipes for ear beer have been circulated, revised and circulated some more.

They typically consist of alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and/or sterile water. Heck, I've even seen some made with witch hazel. (I've never been sure what the sterile water is supposed to do.)

Hemlon
09-11-2007, 11:32
Ears are the number one injury in diving! You NEED to keep your ears healthy, or quit diving.

Does your ear feel like it has water inside? In that case, it's a sign of middle ear damage. Middle ear damage can heal over a few weeks (generally), but if you continue to push it, it can become more damaged, and result in reverse blocks, and worst. I'm not saying that is what you have, but more for general knowledge.

You could in fact have swimmers ear. I pulled this off of a webpage on swimmers ear:


:smiley5:

The most common symptom of swimmer's ear is pain. Pain gradually begins over a day or two. The pain almost always involves only one ear. The pain is especially intense when the ear is touched or pulled.
The outer ear may be red, and the ear canal may be swollen shut.
The ear may drain. This drainage may be clear, white, yellow, or sometimes bloody and foul smelling. Some fluid may crust at the opening of the ear canal.
With severe swelling or drainage, you may have trouble hearing.
Fever is generally not present. If there is a fever, it is not usually high.If this persists, than by all means head to a doctor. Your diving life is too new to screw it up by NOT making a visit to a doctor, and screwing up your ears.


Ron,

Several of us have told him the same thing. Ears are SO important to life (and to diving!) that extreme care should be taken to protect/treat them.

RonFrank
09-11-2007, 11:35
what exactly is ear beer? how do you use it? make it? does it hurt wheb you use it?

Recipes for ear beer have been circulated, revised and circulated some more.

They typically consist of alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and/or sterile water. Heck, I've even seen some made with witch hazel. (I've never been sure what the sterile water is supposed to do.)

The water is just to dilute the potion, but I find it unnecessary. My Mommy used to just dump a gallon of Hydrogen Peroxide in our ears three times an hour! :smiley11: K, seriously, hydrogen peroxide is about all you really need, but most over the counter solutions do have some alcohol as well. Ear drops are definitely a solution, but you can save yourself $5, and make your own.

Disneymom
09-11-2007, 11:39
what exactly is ear beer? how do you use it? make it? does it hurt wheb you use it?

50% rubbing alcohol, 50% white vinegar. It might sting if you have an ear infection, otherwise, it won't hurt.

ear beer thread http://forum.scubatoys.com/showthread.php?t=1297

greyzen
09-11-2007, 11:40
Oh I'm not putting on some kinda goofy "I'm a man, I don't need doctors" attitude. I'm a serious believer in hanging out with medical people and letting them poke and prod me to make sure I'm healthy.

My reluctance is due to the level of discomfort and the fact it seems very likely to be more of a sore jaw/etc.

It doesn't feel like there is water in my ear canal, and the "pain" is very very slight. On a scale of 1 - 10, I would rank it around a 2 or 3... more of an irritant than "pain". When I click my jaw, it send a flash of pain more like a 3 or 4, but other than that I can almost forget about it.

I took an antihistamine earlier to try and see if it does need some drainage, and I've used some 50/50 IPA/Water in it, and took some Ibuprofen in case there is some inner ear canal swelling to help reduce it (again for blockage if there is any).

All that being said, could that be due diligence?
Could it be jaw soreness that is displaced to my ear?
Am I actually being more stubborn than I think I am and should just go to the doctor?

Hemlon
09-11-2007, 11:44
Oh I'm not putting on some kinda goofy "I'm a man, I don't need doctors" attitude. I'm a serious believer in hanging out with medical people and letting them poke and prod me to make sure I'm healthy.

My reluctance is due to the level of discomfort and the fact it seems very likely to be more of a sore jaw/etc.

It doesn't feel like there is water in my ear canal, and the "pain" is very very slight. On a scale of 1 - 10, I would rank it around a 2 or 3... more of an irritant than "pain". When I click my jaw, it send a flash of pain more like a 3 or 4, but other than that I can almost forget about it.

I took an antihistamine earlier to try and see if it does need some drainage, and I've used some 50/50 IPA/Water in it, and took some Ibuprofen in case there is some inner ear canal swelling to help reduce it (again for blockage if there is any).

All that being said, could that be due diligence?
Could it be jaw soreness that is displaced to my ear?
Am I actually being more stubborn than I think I am and should just go to the doctor?


You've answered your own question. Go to the doctor.
:smiley20:

greyzen
09-11-2007, 11:59
if the doctor tells me I have to miss this weekends fun, I promise you to be very very pouting.

You think a 4 year old who didn't get a cookie is a pathetic sight? You ain't seen pathetic until you've seen me whine and cry about not getting to do fun stuff.

Mtrewyn
09-11-2007, 12:32
I have similar issues,

And am just as interested in all of your help.

I don't think mine is allergy related... could be...but I've never had any allergy issues till now I'm 34, and lived in SW Missouri 90% of my life so I would have thought I would have had them before now.

DolphinDreams
09-11-2007, 12:41
actually, it is possible to have jaw issues cause pain at the ear. your jaw "hinge" is right there, and if you strained those muscles in any way, equalizing, holding your jaw tightly shut, or open for long periods ( like at the dentist) you could have a slight injury to those muscles which can refer pain up to the ear. it may not even be something you did recently which caused this injury, it could be that something just irritated an old one.

you could try the ear beer stuff, along with massage of those muscles (fingertips in little circles), just in case, and if it doesn't get better go to the doctor.

wxboy911
09-11-2007, 18:56
When I dive in cold water my right ear tends to be difficult to equalize for unknown reasons. I did some research and found these...

http://www.proplugs.com/scubadiving.shtml

Not only do they help with equalizing but they also keep the ear infections away. The fitting set and a set of vented plugs with a leash was still under $20. I thought it was an affordable way to stay in the water with fewer worries.

hoop
09-11-2007, 22:55
I have similar issues,

And am just as interested in all of your help.

I don't think mine is allergy related... could be...but I've never had any allergy issues till now I'm 34, and lived in SW Missouri 90% of my life so I would have thought I would have had them before now.

Mtrewyn, for what it is worth, I was talking to my allergy specialist (I have allergies hardcore), and he said at the clinic he works at, he's seen more people this year that have never had allergies a day in their life show up for relief.... You're pretty close to Oklahoma, so I'm sure it had something to do with all of the rain this summer...... I'm not a doc, nor have I played one on TV, but I suspect allergies might be the culprit to your dilemma.......!

Tableleg
09-12-2007, 09:18
I think it refers to rubbing alcohol also known as Isopropyl Alcohol. A couple of drop in your hear cannals after diving will help your hear dry faster. Lot's of divers/swimmers use it.This is also the OTC swimmers ear stuff. The first time I bought some, I looked at the contents and wondered why I paid 4 times the amount for a quarter amount of isopropyl... :smiley20:

BobArnold8265
09-12-2007, 09:46
My Wife used to get swimmer's ear often. She uses Proplugs and hasn't had a problem since.

divingmedic
09-12-2007, 10:05
I start before I dive by taking Sudafed non drying non drowsy a few days before diving and while on a dive trip. While it cost more Musinex is great stuff also. I never use to have a problem with my ears till I spent a day at the Blue Lagoon while doing my DM training and went up and down to the platform about 32 times. I almost blew my right ear out.

greyzen
09-12-2007, 14:25
Well I'm on some kinda drops now...
doc said I ain't bad.. but that the drops would do more good than harm.

Hemlon
09-12-2007, 17:27
Well I'm on some kinda drops now...
doc said I ain't bad.. but that the drops would do more good than harm.


I'm glad that you're feeling better and that you sought medical attention.

Taking care of your own health shows responsibility and that you are potentially a good buddy.

As I've said before, if one fails to take care of their own health, it makes some people wonder if they will be a responsible buddy.

Good job, greyzen! :smiley20:

coralcrazed
09-13-2007, 13:45
So I've not seen a thread about problematic ear issues post-diving and figured I'd make one.

So I was at the lake all weekend and now my left ear feels like some gauze is in it... and it is mildly achy. I've heard of swimmers ear and wonder if that isn't what I'm running into. It seems like it wants to drain but no drainage happens, kinda sucks.
you should have it checked but if it happens alot and you know its swimmers ear than you can use a 50% diluted rubbing alcohol solution and pour it into the ear. however, if you have an ear infection than this will make it worse. I'm no a doctor so be sure to check with yours first. hope that helped.

mwhities
09-13-2007, 13:50
I borrowed this from Lynne (BQ/TSandM/Lynne) off another board. I'm not smart enough to write anything like this:

"I decided to write a piece about this topic, because it seems to be one of the most commonly raised questions on any diving-related board, and there are a LOT of misconceptions, which tends to lead to a lot of well-meaning but erroneous advice.

Everybody knows that divers get ear infections. But what do we mean when we say that? How do you know if you have an ear infection, and what can you do to prevent it or treat it?

To begin with, let's review a little anatomy. The ear has a "pinna", or external ear, which is the thing that catches and directs sound. This leads to a passageway, or "external auditory canal", which routes the sound down to the eardrum. The eardrum completely seals the passageway, so air (or water) from the outside never reaches the middle or inner ear from the external auditory canal. The middle ear consists of a chain of bones that transmits the vibrations from the eardrum to the cochlea, a structure where the sound is converted to nerve impulses to be sent to the brain. The cochlea is part of the inner ear. The other part is the semicircular canals, which are fluid-containing structures that give you information about how you are oriented in space. This is an important part of your ability to balance.

So, what happens to divers' ears? To begin with, the external auditory canal fills with water. As you know from spending too long in a pool or bathtub, skin changes when it's wet. It gets softer and less resistant. The ear canal can become so moist, particularly if water stands in it for long periods of time, that the skin breaks down and permits the entry of bacteria. This results in "swimmer's ear", or external otitis. The symptoms are ear pain, aggravated by moving the pinna, and swelling of the canal, which can sometimes even be seen with the naked eye. Treatment is with antibiotic eardrops (and sometimes, in difficult cases, oral antibiotics). Prevention is aimed at drying the canal. This can be as simple as putting your head on the side for a few moments, to make sure the water drains. You can also use alcohol-containing ear drops, which hasten the evaporation of the water. Some people also add vinegar, to keep a pH range inhospitable to bacteria. There are many formulas for "ear beer".

What you want to avoid is a solution which is sufficiently caustic to cause damage to the canal in and of itself. This is why pure alcohol is discouraged, because it's excessively drying.

The other kind of "ear infection" is otitis MEDIA, or infection of the middle ear. This is what small children get after they have colds, and it's caused by an accumulation of fluid in the middle ear, usually because the Eustachian tube isn't working properly and fluid can't drain. The fluid becomes infected and causes pain. When you examine someone with otitis media, the eardrum will look red and inflamed, and there will be fluid behind it, and it won't move normally.

Here's the rub: If you fail to equalize your ears, fluid will ooze out of the tissues into the airspace in the middle ear. Small blood vessels may even rupture. The appearance of this on exam is very similar to an middle ear infection, and the symptoms may be similar, too -- ear pain. Yet this is not an infection, and does not require antibiotics. If you're a new diver, and come up from a couple of dives with some mild ear discomfort and a sense of muffled hearing, the likelihood is very high that you have suffered barotrauma from not equalizing your ears early or often enough. It's very unlikely that you have an infection. (Now, if two or three days down the road, the pain gets markedly WORSE or you have a fever, that's different!)

Barotrauma is really treated primarily with time, unless it's severe. Decongestants aimed at opening the Eustachian tube and allowing the fluid to drain MAY be useful. Over the counter pain medications are reasonable as well. Persistent decrease in hearing, ringing in the ears, persistent problems with balance, or severe ear pain all merit evaluation by a physician, preferably an ENT doc who knows something about diving.

Dr. Edmond Kay, a family practitioner at the University of Washington with a particular interest in diving, has an excellent, about forty minute presentation on ear anatomy and physiology for divers, which you can find HERE. I personally think all divers should watch it -- Even as a physician, I learned from doing so.

Anyway, hope this is helpful in providing some basic information about ear symptoms and how to decide when you need to see a doctor. The bottom line is, "Equalize early and often", and you'll avoid a lot of ear-related symptoms."

Michael

jo8243
09-17-2007, 20:41
I use the "swimmer's ear" product you can get at the drug store after every day of diving. Prevents problems. You can use the home brew people mentioned as well.

DevilDiver
09-17-2007, 21:26
I think it refers to rubbing alcohol also known as Isopropyl Alcohol. A couple of drop in your hear cannals after diving will help your hear dry faster. Lot's of divers/swimmers use it.This is also the OTC swimmers ear stuff. The first time I bought some, I looked at the contents and wondered why I paid 4 times the amount for a quarter amount of isopropyl... :smiley20:

The recipe for the Ear Beer is 1/2 rubbing alcohol 1/2 white vinegar:smiley20:

Travelnsj
09-17-2007, 22:01
I think it refers to rubbing alcohol also known as Isopropyl Alcohol. A couple of drop in your hear cannals after diving will help your hear dry faster. Lot's of divers/swimmers use it.This is also the OTC swimmers ear stuff. The first time I bought some, I looked at the contents and wondered why I paid 4 times the amount for a quarter amount of isopropyl... :smiley20:

The recipe for the Ear Beer is 1/2 rubbing alcohol 1/2 white vinegar:smiley20:

That's the mix I use after every dive flood the ear....works great.

ohiofireman
10-04-2007, 16:59
Anyone ever try to use the ear dryer? I am very new to diving but have used it every day and have not had any problems.

cshel
10-04-2007, 19:45
Just go to the doctor. I felt like I had water in there after diving, I could hear it when I bent over to pick anything up off the floor. Kept using ear beer but it didn't help This was the Friday before Labor Day. I went straight to the ENT and guess what?!? He was a diver!!! He looked in there told me to stop the ear beer cuz all the water was gone but the eardrum was irritated. He gave me a prescription for medicated drops and I was diving again a week later. :smiley32:

ohiofireman
10-08-2007, 18:38
Ok I have one more question. Has anyone had issues after diving several times a day over a few weeks?

dludwig
10-08-2007, 20:30
there is a very good article about equalizing in the last issue of SCUBA DIVER magazine about "exercising" you tubes :smiley32:

Travelnsj
10-08-2007, 23:38
Ok I have one more question. Has anyone had issues after diving several times a day over a few weeks?

Like diving 3 to 4 times a day like I have been in Bali and Wakatobi for the almost the last 2 weeks???....Yes my ears are feeling it!:smiley21:.....But it is worth it:smiley20::smiley20::smiley20:

SarahBella
11-17-2007, 13:49
I use a set of Doc Pro plugs and have not had any trouble-I think the most dives I have done in 1 day was 3 and they helped me equalize as well as keep most of the water out of my ears-definitely worth the 12 bucks.

gbrdiver
11-24-2007, 07:26
I recently had to call a dive off...3rd dive of the day and for some reason I couldn't clear. 1st time I've called a dive, but it is all you can do...if ever you are not happy about where you are or what you're doing - never hesitate to call to dive..that's my advice FWIW!!.

mcc2318
11-24-2007, 23:09
its funny i get an ear infection from being in the shower but i get nonthing in salt water?

tarheeldiver
11-25-2007, 10:47
its funny i get an ear infection from being in the shower but i get nonthing in salt water?
I get infections in the spring and summer sometimes but my Ent things its from allergies and not from diving and he used to treat Navy divers.

greyzen
11-25-2007, 15:39
Well it's funny because before that time (the original post) I've never gotten ear infections either.

I spend as much time as possible in the water (pools, lakes, oceans, showers, bath tubs, etc.) so I'm honestly kind of shocked it didn't happen sooner.

jl21
11-29-2007, 08:09
I tend to get allergies and seem to be prone to ear issues when flying. Now that I've started diving (and worse yet flying to dive) I've had to learn what works. I'm usually not bad enough to need medicine all the time, but I'll start taking claritin-d about a week or so before a dive, then afrin about a day before. Seems to keep me clear. Also if I have issues on a plane, I take those after the flight. Unfortunately that takes a few days to clear up.. so it is better start early and prevent.

I've also found that I need to equalize each ear differently when diving. For my left its valsava, for my right I need to swallow. Anybody else notice things like that?

cogrwy
04-30-2008, 07:58
Years ago, I had an ear infection that caused my jaw to get so sore, I couldn't completely close my jaw on that side. I've also had a cracked tooth cause soreness up into my ear. Everything in that area seems to be connected somehow. My recommendation: if in doubt, see a doctor. It's not worth potential long-term damage.

I concur with the 50-50 alcohol vinegar mixture. I use it on the boat to dry my ears out as soon as I get out of the water.

Grizbear98
05-01-2008, 10:01
I keep getting a lot of outer ear infections from being around swimming pools, especially when I used to lifeguard at a themepark. I had a nasty one during my checkout dives, boy did I luck out that it didn't go in my inner ear. I use swimear when I get out of the pool or a quarry and it clears them out.

obrules15
05-01-2008, 10:05
I tend to get allergies and seem to be prone to ear issues when flying. Now that I've started diving (and worse yet flying to dive) I've had to learn what works. I'm usually not bad enough to need medicine all the time, but I'll start taking claritin-d about a week or so before a dive, then afrin about a day before. Seems to keep me clear. Also if I have issues on a plane, I take those after the flight. Unfortunately that takes a few days to clear up.. so it is better start early and prevent.

I've also found that I need to equalize each ear differently when diving. For my left its valsava, for my right I need to swallow. Anybody else notice things like that?

There is always a delay to my left ear clearing. It always pops the same number of seconds after my right.

bigfishK9
05-02-2008, 16:25
The alcohol and vinegar mix works. I have not needed it (yet), but when we are in the water all week I use it on my sons before bedtime. The after vacation ear problems have basically went away.

If you have a "flop" earred dog, a bi-weekly cleaning (especially during the summer months) will save on the vet bills. Just make sure your outside when you do it though!!:smiley20:

elijahb
05-02-2008, 17:32
I get ear infections a lot. has anyone tried the new ear drier? It was advertised in the last issue of sport driver? I wonder how well it works and if it will help prevent ear issues after diving

maverick
05-03-2008, 16:44
I mixed 50% alcohol and 50% vinegar and it worked. Thanks 4 the info.

Cheddarchick
05-03-2008, 18:28
I use the ear drier... I am prone to infections, especially in lake or quarry water. It does seem to help dry things out. I also use the ear beer after every dive day. 5 minutes on each side as I write my dive log notes....No wonder I can't read them....

Murloc
05-04-2008, 08:24
I've got nothing to add to this thread...my attention was caught by the name Cheddarchick.....it ain't easy being cheesy.....


"do you like cheddar?" <slight purr>
"ah, not really...I'm more of a swiss kinda guy...."
"fine!...be that way....go play with your reubens...who needs ya!?"

wolfen42
05-04-2008, 21:59
Murloc? Heh... WoW much?

beperkins
10-16-2008, 12:53
As stated in the other post about ear problems, I rely on a 50/50 mixture of alcohol and vinegar to douse my ears with after every dive or I get ear problems.