Ears & Diving

Ears & Diving

Tinnitus (Ears Ringing)

Tinnitus is noise or ringing in the ears.



Tinnitus is noise or ringing in the ears.

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is the sensation of an external sound that is not actually present. Tinnitus (ears ringing) affects approximately one in five people and can be caused by many medical conditions.

Possible Diagnoses

It is important to find the underlying cause of the tinnitus. Acute tinnitus occurring during or after diving is likely related to ear barotrauma or inner-ear DCS. If associated with diving, your physician must determine whether it is barotrauma or inner-ear DCS, because the treatments are not the same, and administering the wrong one can be harmful.

Other possible causes of tinnitus include:
  • Concussion
  • High-intensity noise or blast
  • Infection
  • Ear infection (otitis media)
  • Tumor
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction
  • Foreign body in the ear
  • Vascular abnormality
  • Meniere's disease
  • Hypertension
  • Migraine
  • Some medications (including aspirin and quinine)
  • Various poisonings (such as carbon monoxide, nicotine and heavy metal)

Fitness to Dive

If tinnitus is not related to diving and the underlying problem is not a contraindication for diving, there is no reason to curtail diving because of tinnitus itself.

Further Reading