Experiencing discomfort or pain in your ears during a flight out of Naples Airport or a scuba diving adventure can seem a little strange at first, but it’s actually a symptom of a condition called ear barotrauma. While often temporary and manageable, ear barotrauma can have an impact on your hearing health. Let’s take a look at the causes and symptoms of ear barotrauma and what you can do to protect your ear and hearing health.
Causes of Ear Barotrauma
Ear Barotrauma occurs when there is a significant difference in pressure between the inside and outside of the ear. This commonly happens during activities such as flying or scuba diving, where rapid pressure changes can affect the delicate balance within the ear.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
The symptoms of ear barotrauma may include pain or discomfort in the ears, muffled or decreased hearing, dizziness and a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ears. If you experience these symptoms, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional who can conduct a thorough examination and identify any lasting damage.
Impact on Long-term Hearing Health
While Ear Barotrauma is typically a temporary condition, repeated or untreated episodes can potentially lead to long-term hearing problems. The delicate structures within the ear can incur damage, resulting in hearing loss or other complications. Major ear barotrauma can cause a tear in the tympanic membrane (eardrum). The eardrum is a vital part of the hearing process. When it is torn, your hearing may suffer temporary or permanent hearing damage.
Because the impact of ear barotrauma can be severe, preventative methods and early treatment are vital to protect your hearing health.
For mild cases of ear barotrauma, simple methods can often provide relief. These may include swallowing, yawning or performing the Valsalva maneuver to equalize the pressure in the ears. To perform the Valsalva maneuver, hold your mouth and nose closed and blow air through your nose. In cases where the ear is damaged from barotrauma, your ENT specialist may recommend an eardrum patch or surgery to prevent permanent damage or infection.
Ear barotrauma, though often manageable, can significantly impact your hearing health if left untreated. By understanding its causes, recognizing the symptoms and seeking timely treatment, you can protect your hearing and prevent long-term complications. If you experience any concerns or symptoms related to ear barotrauma, contact Center For Hearing to schedule an appointment with one of our trusted specialists.