Ear Barotrauma

Question:
A few days ago after some diving, I found that I was unable to get rid of that feeling you get when you have water in your ear.....you cant hear properly( it kind of feels like all you need to do is tilt your head, shake it a little, and the water will come out, needless to say this doesn’t actually work.)
I dived 2/3 times after this happened, because I thought it was nothing and would just clear up.
I didn’t have any problems equalising in those dives, and the only problem Was the same feeling back on the surface.
I went to a doctor who precribed me (PSEUDOEPHEDRINE) to take 2 times a day, and also (DIRITHROMYCIN) to take once a day for three days.
I am in the process of taking further education courses in Florida at the present time, to further my Instructor qualifications, and am having to miss a lot of important dives, because I was told by the doctor not to dive.
I am on the third day of medication today, and my problem has not improved at all.
Can you please give some advice on what to do?
The doctor says I risk rupturing my ears if I dive even though I don’t have any problems equalising, even with the problem.
He says I have water in my middle ears.
Are the drugs he has prescribed the best medication I can take for this problem, since they aren’t working, should I take them for longer, or can you recommend a better course of medication to take?
Will it help at all if I also use those ear drops that are supposed to dry up moisture in your ears?
Do you think it would be OK to resume my diving course?
This doctor is remarkably expensive (as are the drugs), and I cant really afford to go back to see him a second time.
Any advice would be appreciated.

Answer:
From what you describe it is possible that you have suffered a middle ear barotrauma, even if you did not perceive any difficulty in equalizing. In these circumstances it is frequent that a physician may note fluid in the middle ear during the otoscopic diagnostic manouvre.
The treatment that you have been prescribed is, generally speaking, correct, as the standard treatment in similar cases is based on decongestants - to be take orally and/or va nasal sprays or drops -, antibiotics - to avoid infectious complications -, and, if the treating physician considers it necessary, a short course of cortisone treatment.
The use of external ear drops is not indicated and would be of little use, and possibly harmful.
Given the situation it is appropriate that you have been advised not to continue diving until the clinical situation has resolved positively. The normal approach would be to refrain from diving for at least one week after all symptoms have cleared.
Given the circumstances and since you are not observing any significant improvement with the treatment, I would advise you to see the physician again, or possibly to find a local ENT specialist.
Since you are in Florida, it may be wise that you contact DAN America's Medical Division on 919 684 2948. You may wish to ask for Dan Nord, to whom I am copying this email message.
Regarding the administrative side of your problem and any expense you may incure in, I wish to remind you that the DAN Travel Assist plan may be useful in this case.

Question:
Three weeks ago I had a very strong cold. I am a scuba instructor, and I did not wanted to abandon my students. I went diving in the swimming pool two times but I was only able to go down to 1 - 1.5 metres.
Since then (2 weeks) I have a constant tynitus in my ears.
Could you please advise?

Answer:

 

You seem to have a blocked eustachian tube which is preventing you from clearing your ears. This could be due to some swelling remaining from your cold.

 

What is a bit more worrying is this constant tinnitus you are hearing especially if this appeared after your cold was over and you tried diving, I hope that you did not try to force your ear to clear as you may have injured your inner ear.

 

However this could also be left over effects from the cold so I advise you not to try diving again until you visit your ENT specialist to ensure that all is well and he can treat you for the residual cold symptoms. I hope this is helpful.