Ears & Diving

Ears & Diving

Injuries: Introduction

Ear injuries are the leading cause of morbidity among scuba divers. The most common injury is middle-ear barotrauma (MEBT). Most cases of MEBT

Accumulation of fluid and blood in middle ear or eardrum rupture as a consequence of failed equalization of pressure in the middle ear's air space with the ambient pressure during diving or flying.

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are mild, heal spontaneously and are never reported. In more serious cases, divers seek medical attention, and some call DAN. Various surveys indicate that more than 50 percent of all divers experience MEBT at least once. In contrast, only 4.4 percent of divers experience DCS in their lifetime.

Divers are affected by various other ear injuries, many of which are preventable, that will be detailed in the chapter that follows.