One of the most important safety issues that we deal with in Scuba Diving is the proper function of the ear and nasal system. And because without proper equalization scuba diving is 99% impossible we asked from Dr Dimitri Louloudis some useful tips and we are sharing them with you:
We never dive with a cold or when we suffer from an infection or inflammation in any of our major organs of our body.
We avoid to go diving when we have allergy symptoms.
Hydration is extremely important. We drink a small amount of water as often as possible. If we don’t replenish the water we speedily lose during our dive, our nasal mucus will soon become dense and sticky and will make our equalization difficult.
Daily nasal cleansings with saline, Physiomer, Nasaline or similar solutions are highly advisable. They should be done every morning and night at least.
Nasal cleansing with sea water just before the dive should be avoided since it causes an increased secretion momentarily.
Urinating inside your wet suit may be responsible for some cases of external otitis that can cause discomfort.
An incipient discomfort in the outer ear (itch, a sense of moisture or mild pain), can be treated effectively by drops instillation of a 4% alcohol, boracic acid.
Our equalizations should be calm, relaxed and often. Never are we to put pressure in our equalizations.
We never drink ice water before our dive. Ice water shocks and swells the mucous membranes.
Consumption of dairy products can cause, to many people, an increased production of mucous in our respiratory and peptic system. If we belong to this category, we should avoid their consumption two to three days prior to our dive.
If we cannot equalize, we end our dive. If we force air into an ear that doesn’t allow air to enter it might harm us during our ascent (reverse block).
Sudden buzzing in the ear with or without the sensation of congestion which can often be accompanied by dizziness or vertigo, usually means a barotrauma of the inner ear. This has to be considered as a medical emergency and it’s treatment should not be delayed more than just a few hours.
Having bubbles of air exiting your eye during equalization is an innocent and normal situation.
A stomach loose valve and the subsequent gastro-oesophageal reflux are often responsible for equalization problems.
A crooked nasal septum, hypertrophied turbinate, chronic rhinitis, sinusitis, adenoids and nasal polyps can also be responsible for a hard equalizing ear.
Sinusitis and nasal ailments generally should be treated promptly and effectively because they could otherwise lead to pachyblennogonitida and to blockage of the sinus’ mouth.
If in doubt whether our ear drum has suffered a rupture or not, we try to equalize on the surface. If our ear drum is ruptured, air will escape through the tear making a distinct noise.
If you suspect any kind of barotrauma it is advisable that you communicate, even via telephone, with some expert. Swift treatment of most barotraumas is extremely significant regarding their final outcome.
Source: Dr. Dimitris Louloudis