Reverse ear block?

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Tg0dmw

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Hi everyone, I am facing a strange issue that i need help with.
While diving for lobsters and being on the ocean floor, i get a sudden sharp pain in my left ear. It increases as i breathe out through my regs.

It feels like i am not able to equalise. But there are no depth changes associated with the pain. It just happens. And the pain does not go away or get worse with depth changes when i ascend(i cant descend as im already on the ocean floor. It just hurts when i breathe out.

I have done over 300 dives and only had problems equalising less than 5 times. This only happened 2 weeks ago after 4 days of double dives. I doubled dived fine last week and yesterday this happened 15minutes into my first dive.

Both times it happened in strong surgey conditions. The feeling of being blocked went away after i used ear drops recommended by a pharmacy (it was mostly vinegar with alcohol).
 

Alaskan Scuba Dude

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A clogged ear could have numerous potential causes: Growths: Your ears can get growths, bulges, and lumps which can even obstruct your ears. Irreversible loss of hearing: Some kinds of hearing loss feel a lot like a blocked ear. If your “clogged ear” is lasting longer than it should, you need to get it checked out.
 

Seaweed Doc

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The surge might have created a sudden increase in pressure, if your depth was fixed. (The wave crest goes over you, and your depth is suddenly greater than in the trough.) If it stayed blocked, you should either feel better or possible worse on the ascent. I wonder if a surge actually gave you a little barotrauma and that's the pain you felt on ascent?

I had a weird experience in the pool the other night. I was doing CESA practice with students following multiple ups and downs with out of air/shared air exercises. I've never had trouble clearing my ears. But then on a descent to 12' I couldn't clear it. So I went up a bit, the pain went away. But every time I descended it came back. Finally went to the surface and realized the only place it was "clear" was about 3' deep. Took me forever, but I finally cleared it. I've got no clue why after 37 years of diving I couldn't clear easily. Even stranger, why after multiple ups and downs that very evening could I suddenly not clear.
 

Alaskan Scuba Dude

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I was doing CESA practice with students following multiple ups and downs with out of air/shared air exercises.
Controlled emergency swimming ascent (CESA).
CESA is a technique used by scuba divers as an emergency procedure when a diver has run out of breathing gas underwater and must return to the surface.

CESA should not be executed more than once in training. The best course of action is to simulate CESA while swimming on the surface.
 
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T

Tg0dmw

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Hi Seaweed, thank you for replying. I suspected the same thing about the surge causing the icrease in pressure. The 2 times it happened to me, it was during very strong surge at relatively shallow depths(less than 5m).

I confirmed during my dives the next day, that it was a reverse block. I was much deeper at about 10m when i had to ascent a little to get over a reef structure. My ear started hurting the same way. So i tried descending and stayed down for a while and the pain went away.

Alaskan, my blocks went away the moment i used ear drops after showering. So nothing permanent. I was beginning to worry but everything seems fine now.
 

Seaweed Doc

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CESA should not be executed more than once in training. The best course of action is to simulate CESA while swimming on the surface.
For students, mostly yes. But the instructor must accompany each student for safety.
 

JMBL

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Well, this might help : I tend to have reverse ear block (pain in the ear while ascending) on a regular basis, each time the water is below 18°C/65F. According the physician I saw about that, the cause is the constriction of the Eustachian tube due to cold water. As it is constricted, it impairs equalization.

What was the water temp while you were diving ?
 
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Tg0dmw

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Well, this might help : I tend to have reverse ear block (pain in the ear while ascending) on a regular basis, each time the water is below 18°C/65F. According the physician I saw about that, the cause is the constriction of the Eustachian tube due to cold water. As it is constricted, it impairs equalization.

What was the water temp while you were diving ?
It was 19 to 21 degrees. Usual temp around this time of the year for us. Not the warmest but not super cold either.
 

JMBL

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Maybe it was cold enough for getting your Eustachian tube constricted, water being way denser than air, loosing heat gets quicker, as we've all been taught. Maybe it'd be worth talking to a diving medic.
 

brycejohnson

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The surge might have created a sudden increase in pressure, if your depth was fixed. (The wave crest goes over you, and your depth is suddenly greater than in the trough.) If it stayed blocked, you should either feel better or possible worse on the ascent. I wonder if a surge actually gave you a little barotrauma and that's the pain you felt on ascent?

I had a weird experience in the pool the other night. I was doing CESA practice with students following multiple ups and downs with out of air/shared air exercises. I've never had trouble clearing my ears. But then on a descent to 12' I couldn't clear it. So I went up a bit, the pain went away. But every time I descended it came back. Finally went to the surface and realized the only place it was "clear" was about 3' deep. Took me forever, but I finally cleared it. I've got no clue why after 37 years of diving I couldn't clear easily. Even stranger, why after multiple ups and downs that very evening could I suddenly not clear.
Hello --I experienced something very similar during my OW class last night at about 10 to 12 feet. I do not normally encounter ear/nose/sinus related issues. Long story short, I went through the normal newbie routine at 3 feet ensuring that I was able to breath through my regulator and transfer to a buddies (my instructor) octopus, etc. We began a descent to approximately 10 feet and then, I experienced a sharp pain in my left ear (and a little in the right) like I've never experienced. I gave the something isn't right hand signal and pointed to my ear. We ascended slowly and the pain mostly went away at approx 4 feet. I was able to complete the first night's class but rescheduled tonight's class (at the advise of the instructor) as my ears are still not back to normal. They do not hurt but, they don't feel right. I do not know how to describe it.

How much time should I give this before I try again? My immediate plan is to return and finish the pool component tomorrow but, what if my ears are still not normal? How long should I wait? I'm so excited to get this damn cert and go diving and then this. I want to rush it but, I know i'ts just going to create further issues.

Anyway, thank you for reading and I would appreciate any advice.

Bryce
 
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