Next Meeting: Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Andrews University, Biology Amphitheater, Price Hall, Berrien Springs, MI
Meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. (Every 3rd Tuesday of every month except December)
Greet attending members, Introduce visitors, Present specific Club Related information,
Discuss general dive related news, Present any Show & Tell, Open the floor for discussion of current diving experiences and lessons learned if any, Pizza at Roma’s after meeting closure. Free copies of “Diver Training” magazine will be available at this meeting.
Last Meeting Highlights:
There were 17 in attendance, treasure report presented, major topic was the clubs Picnic & Dive/Kayak day, identifying those going wreck diving in Mackinaw & Cheboygan, Mentioned who had scuba gear/ boat to sell, Show & Tell of Joshua’s finds, It was noted that everyone has been diving and the list of sites included: Gull Lake, Lake 16, Paw Paw Lake, Lime Lake, the Clay Banks, South Pier, Rockaway, Douglas Bay, the Havana, and Fiddlers Pond, Also mentioned Wolfs Marine scuba& fishing Yard sale Sept 13.
Safety Tip of the Month:
Common Injuries To The Ear Associated With Scuba Diving
Otitis externa (swimmers ear): This is an inflammation of the external ear caused by infection. The ear remains moist from immersion in the water, this moisture, coupled with the warmth of the body, creates an inviting growth area for many microorganisms, especially opportunistic bacteria.
Signs & Symptoms: The ear canal can become inflamed and may partially close. The external ear canal is red and swollen and may itch. Touching the outer ear may cause intense pain.
Treatment: Prevention is key, especially in those persons who have previously shown they are susceptible. Domeboro Otic solution, may function as a prophylactic and treatment for otitis externa when it is used as directed.
Barotitis Media (middle ear barotrauma): This is by far the most frequently reported injury among divers. People with barotitis media generally develop symptoms immediately following the dive, but delays of up to one day or longer have been reported. When the diver descends, the pressure can cause injury to the middle ear. This overpressure of the middle ear can cause serious fluid and blood to leak into the middle ear, partially or completely filling it.
Signs & Symptoms: A feeling of fullness in the ear may develop, like the feeling of fluid inside the ear. Muffled hearing or hearing loss are other indications of middle ear barotrauma. On examination with an otoscope (a special device medical personnel use when examining the ear) fluid may appear behind the tympanic membrane, causing it to bulge and appear red. In other cases, the eardrum may be retracted or sunk in. Either condition warrants immediate medical attention.
Treatment: First, diving must stop. Also, changes in altitude—as with flying—must be considered a concern as well. See a medical practitioner. The combination of drugs and time will usually allow this injury to heal in a few days, but cases have lasted up to several months. If you have been on decongestant therapy for seven days and have experienced little or no relief, it’s time to see your otolaryngologist, an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist.
Otitis Media (middle ear infection): This is not a diving malady, but may look the same as middle ear barotrauma to a non-dive-trained medical practitioner. Because the treatments can vary, it is important to realize that an ear problem immediately following a dive outing usually signals a pressure-related injury rather than an infection.
Inner Ear Barotrauma: This injury generally occurs when divers attempt to forcefully equalize their ears. This “hard” blowing over-pressurizes the middle ear and can result in implosive or explosive damage to the round and oval windows.
Signs & Symptoms: Vertigo, vomiting, hearing loss, loud tinnitus (a ringing or roaring sound in the ear).
Treatment: Place the injured diver in a sitting head-up position. Get the injured diver to medical help right away, preferably to someone knowledgeable in diving medicine since inner ear barotrauma may be difficult to distinguish from inner-ear decompression sickness.
Tympanic Membrane (TM) Rupture: Barotraumatic injuries to the ear may result in perforation or rupture of the tympanic membrane. This may occur in as little as 7 feet of water.
Signs & Symptoms: Generally there is pain and bleeding from the ear. This may not always be the case, as a number of dive-related traumatic TM ruptures have reported no pain at all. Hearing loss and tinnitus may also be present, but not always. A discharge from the ear of commingled fluid and blood may be a sign of TM rupture.
Treatment: Go to the nearest medical practitioner immediately for an examination. Do not re-enter the water if you suspect TM rupture: water entering the middle ear cavity may cause severe and violent vertigo. Do not put any drops of any kind in your ear. Do not attempt to equalize your middle ears.
External Ear Canal Superficial Vessel Rupture: This occurs more often in divers who wear hoods. Occasionally, the overpressure may rupture a blood vessel inside the external ear canal, causing some minor bleeding.
Signs & Symptoms: A minute trace of blood trickling from the ear canal. Later, the injured diver may find drops of blood on his/her pillow or bedclothes.
Treatment: In order to distinguish between this injury and other, more severe injuries, it is necessary to stop diving and seek evaluation by a medical practitioner.
On a general note, a physician should examine any ear problem that drains purulent material (pus) or has a foul or disagreeable odor.
SUMMARY Ear injuries are the most commonly encountered injuries to divers. Permanent hearing loss may result from barotrauma to the ears. The likelihood of injuries is reduced by preventive measures such as:
- properly equalizing
- never diving with a cold or other congestion, and
- abstaining from diving if you cannot clear your ears.
Several types of ear injuries can occur. All of these injuries should be examined by a qualified medical practitioner. If in doubt regarding the practitioner’s knowledge of diving medicine, bring this article with you or encourage them to call +1-919-684-2948 and ask for the Medical Department here at DAN for a consult.
Otoscopic examination of the ear by a qualified medical practitioner knowledgeable in diving and emergency medicine may be useful in determining what type injury has occurred. In remote areas of the world or on board live aboard dive vessels you may have to wait a while until you can get medical help. DAN’s advice is to encourage you to get to a medical facility as soon as possible.
Good diving, and keep your ears dry!
“Always Dive Safe and Dive Smart”
Don’t dive if you feel pressured. Remember, if you’re not having fun, stop diving.