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## Can Scuba Diving Cause a Perforated Eardrum?

### What is a Perforated Eardrum?

A perforated eardrum is a hole or tear in the thin membrane that separates the outer ear from the middle ear. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

* Sudden changes in pressure, such as from an explosion or a scuba dive
* Loud noises, such as from a gunshot or a jackhammer
* Infections, such as otitis media
* Physical trauma, such as from a cotton swab or a sharp object

### Symptoms of a Perforated Eardrum

The symptoms of a perforated eardrum can vary depending on the size and location of the hole. Some of the most common symptoms include:

* Ear pain
* Hearing loss
* Dizziness
* Tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ear)
* Drainage from the ear
* Vertigo

### How Can Scuba Diving Cause a Perforated Eardrum?

Scuba diving can cause a perforated eardrum if the pressure in the middle ear is not equalized with the pressure in the surrounding water. This can happen if:

* The diver descends too quickly
* The diver does not clear their ears properly
* The diver has a blocked Eustachian tube
* The diver has a pre-existing ear infection

### Risk Factors for Perforated Eardrum During Scuba Diving

Certain factors can increase the risk of developing a perforated eardrum during scuba diving, including:

* **History of ear problems:** Divers who have had previous ear problems, such as ear infections or perforated eardrums, are at higher risk.
* **Allergies:** Divers who are allergic to certain substances, such as chlorine or latex, are at higher risk.
* **Nasal congestion:** Divers who are congested are at higher risk because the congestion can block the Eustachian tubes.
* **Smoking:** Smoking can damage the Eustachian tubes and increase the risk of perforated eardrum.
* **Obesity:** Obesity can increase the risk of perforated eardrum because it can make it more difficult to clear the ears.

### How to Prevent a Perforated Eardrum During Scuba Diving

There are several things that divers can do to prevent a perforated eardrum, including:

* **Equalizing the pressure in your ears:** Divers should equalize the pressure in their ears by swallowing, yawning, or using a Valsalva maneuver.
* **Clearing your ears:** Divers should clear their ears by blowing gently through their nose while holding their nostrils closed.
* **Using earplugs:** Divers can use earplugs to help protect their ears from the pressure changes caused by scuba diving.
* **Diving slowly:** Divers should descend slowly to allow their ears to adjust to the changing pressure.
* **Getting medical clearance:** Divers who have a history of ear problems should get medical clearance from a doctor before diving.

### Treatment for a Perforated Eardrum

The treatment for a perforated eardrum depends on the size and location of the hole. Small perforations may heal on their own within a few weeks. Larger perforations may require surgery to repair.

## Conclusion

A perforated eardrum is a serious condition that can cause pain, hearing loss, and other problems. Scuba diving is a common cause of perforated eardrum, but there are several things that divers can do to prevent this from happening. By following the tips in this article, divers can help protect their ears and enjoy scuba diving safely.

Read More  How to clear your ears while scuba diving

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