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Ear problems in Diving:

Symptom
Cause
Benefits from dry ear diving
Ear Pain Middle ear Barotrauma ("Ear Squeeze") - pain caused by failure to equalize pressures between the outer and middle ear. Caused by blockage in the Eustachian tube. Pressures cannot be equalized and the eardrum is forced inward causing considerable pain, bleeding into middle ear and sometimes rupture of the eardrum. Preliminary results from multiple dives indicate easier pressure equalization. Possibly explained by lack of stimulation of tympanic membrane and the resultant middle-ear secretions.
Infection or inflammation of the outer ear canal Otitis externa -

Exposure to water dilutes the ear's protective lining and exposes it to infection. Polluted water entering the ear canal carries bacteria and irritant chemicals.

Absolute protection from water and pollutant entry will provide effective prevention.
Middle ear inflammation Otitis media -

Inflammation due to poor drainage and collection of fluids in the middle ear and Eustachian tube.

Lack of tympanic membrane stimulation may obviate problems with drainage of middle-ear secretions.
Inability to discern the direction of sound Diminished function of the calibration of the ear, which is built to function in an air environment. No mechanism as yet to explain this surprising but consistent observation. Extremely important for divers ascending into busy sea lanes, potentially avoiding accidents.
Dizziness (vertigo) and loss of direction Due to caloric stimulation or to damage to the inner ear which affects balance. Avoidance of cold water stimulation of the tympanic membrane, which produces the vertigo.
Build up of bony deposits in the outer ear Exostoses -

The body's mechanism for protecting the eardrum from the adverse effects external trauma like pressure, cold, etc.

Avoidance of cold water stimulation of the external ear canal will undoubtedly prevent exostoses entirely.

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