Ear problem, Tinnitus & Buzzing - Never Diving Again

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Oezkan

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Hi guys, I'm new here and hope I post correctly and maybe find some help in my very sad situation.

I am not sure if im here in the correct address but I gonna try. I started to scuba dive November 2020 and I fell in love straight away. Since November I've been diving 22 times, did all courses until rescue diver and bought almost all my gear. I never loved anything like it. I am 30 years old in Australia. Now I even had to change my visa to a student visa and decided to study diving. In gold coast they offer a study for 1-2 years to become an instructor with many dives and detailed teaching. So I already paid visa and the school and quit my flat and job here in Sydney to go to Gold Coast. The course starts on the 15th march.

But now I'm very sad and scared because something happened to my ear. Around 2 weeks ago I was diving again. It was a 2 days dive holiday including 5 dives. The first day was good like always - 3 dives. The second day - 1st dive was the problem. I couldn't equalize and my left ear startet to pain. I might have waited too long (1 minute) before I ascended again a few meters until the equalizing worked which it did. We finished the dive (19 meters) after 55 minutes. The second Dive was OK and no problems. But then like 1 hour after the dive the pain came back, but on the surface. and my ear was buzzing a lot. I also had a pressure feeling in my ear. Those symptoms stayed for around 3 days. The pain and pressure feeling was gone. The buzzing too but a tinnitus (peeping this time) was left and I still have it 2 weeks later. A very little pressure feeling is left too.

I visited an ENT. She checked my ear very carefully, pumped air in my ear and also made a pressure test and hearing test. She said everything with my ear is alright. No rupture, no hole, inner ear looks OK and hearing too. I told her sometimes when I equalize I can hear a pfff tone in my ear like air coming out. But she said i def. Don't have a hole. She said after 2 weeks I can go diving again.

And I did. 15 days later (1 week ago from now) I went diving (2 times in a row) . This time I was very careful (descending slow and equalizing often and early). And everything went well. I had maybe 2 times in those 2 dives that I couldn't equalize but I acended 1 meter straight away and equalizing worked. The dive felt good. No pain no pressure feeling nothing. But again, even tho nothing happened and during diving I had no symptoms - 1 or 2 hours after the dive (when I was in my quite room) I could hear a buzzing in my left ear / head again. This time even Worse then 2 weeks ago. A very little pressure feeling came on the next day too. This was 2 days ago both. But I had no pain this time only the buzzing and pressure feeling. Both symptoms are gone again after around 40 hours after the dives. Now only the tinnitus (peeping) is left again. Maybe a little bit worse then 2 weeks ago not sure. Also when I swallow I can always hear a cracking in both ears.

I am depressed and scared I can never go diving again and don't start my diving study in gold coast. I love it too much but also this is now my study and life.

I went to the same ENT again. She said I can not dive again ever. I asked what's wrong with my ears and why I cannot dive again. She said my ear looks great. There is still no hole or rupture, or fluid or infection etc etc. So asked again what causes the problems then and why can I not go diving. But she doesn't answer it and says the tinnitus can get worse and I can lose my hearing.

Do you have any idea, advice or something for me? Maybe some hope? Does anyone have the same symptoms here like loud buzzing in the ear for 1-2 days after the dive? Or pressure feeling for 1-2 days? Does anyone dive with a tinnitus? I'm not sure if I should dive again as I love it so much I don't wanna stop it. And not sure what I will do with my studied now.

Sorry to write such a long text! But I hope to hear from you soon.

Many Grettings

Oezkan
 

wnissen

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Boy, that is really too bad. I agree with Lostdiver71, DAN is really great for referrals. Personally, I would not put my hearing at risk, no matter how much I liked the profession, but I hope you get good news.
 

wetb4igetinthewater

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A friend of mine suffered some sort of ear injury and has a ringing in his ears, apparently there's some damage to his hairs. He has been getting recommendations for ENTs from DAN, but their prognoses have been all over the map. I'll send him a link to this discussion as he's not on SB.
 

Angelo Farina

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What you did suffer is called inner ear barothrauma.
It is NOT related to damages to tHe tympanic membrane, the problem is inside the cochlea.
Unfortunately it is relatively common among divers employing the crap Valsalva manouvre for equalyzing, whilst is very rare among divers equalyzing properly, using techniques such as Frenzel, Marcante-Odaglia or BTV.
But now, before coming back to diving, you need to be checked properly by an ENT specialyzed in diving. And you probably need a CT Scan for assessing the damage and evaluate the therapy.
It will possibly take months before you are allowed again to dive.
The case of not being allowed anymore is very rare, usually after an inner ear barothrauma one has to suspend diving for several months, perhaps one year, but in the end all people I have seen getting it were finally able to dive again.
But, when you will finally resume diving, then it will be time to revise your equalyzation technique, getting rid of the crap Valsalva method and learning a proper advanced equalization technique that works well for you...
 

Wibble

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I've found that if I don't deal with equalising quickly enough, my eustachian tube(one or both) will swell up and it makes equalising quite hard. This is especially if I force the equalisation by blowing against my clenched nose. I also find it's far worse if doing shallow descent and ascents - common in lakes when diving with others.

Thus if I do get a block, I'm very careful to stop descending/ascending and go up/down to where the squeeze stops, then wait for a short while to let it sort itself out.

Because of physics, the worst depth for this is in the final 6m as the relative change in pressure's greatest.

Other people may do things differently to me. Whatever works for you is the right way. Just don't force it as it only makes things worse.
 

wetb4igetinthewater

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chillyinCanada

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Ucarkus

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@Oezkan , usually tinnitus is associated with inner ear barotrauma, your problem is sounds a bit more serious than a burst eardrum. Stay positive and seek help from a specialist in diving medicine, not from an ordinary ent specialist. You could call your local Hyperbaric Medicine facilities, I am sure they would be able to recommend suitable specialist.
 
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