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Posted : November 23, 2011
Hi, I am a commercial diver working in the offshore industry. I'm hopeing you can advise me on a problem with my ears/throat?
The problem I have isn't with clearing my ears, but is that I constantly have to clear them. Once I put the Km on it feels like a vacum effect either in my ears or throat? And I have to almost constantly open my jaw to help.
After one of my first Commercial Dives after a 3 hour dive I was spitting quite a bit of blood up, which didn't last long. The medic checked me and everything seemed fine however said it could be polups? Since then after almost every dive, I spit a small amount of blood up.
I have been seen by a ENT nurse and had a camera up my nose and everything seemed fine. She also checked my hearing and pressure tested my ears which both tests were ok,she seemed to struggle a bit with the pressure test though. I have another appointment next month to see a specialist but was wondering if you or anyone else had heard of anything similar? I also get alot of ringing in my ears. Thanks in advance
Answer
Posted : November 23, 2011
Thanks for the query.

Spitting blood up after every dive is clearly not normal, so there must be something that is bleeding. Polyps are a common source, but there are many others, and I suspect you'll need some imaging of your sinuses (eg. a CT scan) to rule out anything else. The ringing in your ears is evidence that the inner ear is being affected, so you need to get this investigated before permanent tinnitus results.

If you have always had this problem (and the vacuum effect you mention), then it is possibly just down to your anatomy and the way you are made. Some people have narrow Eustachian tubes and will always have difficulties clearing; they respond by forceful equalisation which invariably causes soft tissue bleeding (mild barotrauma). However I wouldn't jump to this conclusion until you have had the appropriate tests done with the ENT consultant.

Regards, Dr O
Answer provided by Dr Oliver Firth
Dr Ollie Firth
Additional Comment

Posted : November 23, 2011 by - luke77
Hi, thanks for you quick reply. I forgot to mention since I've been Diving my ears are badlly effected when I fly and can take a week or so to get back to normal. Its very annoying to say the least and worrying also. Cheers
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The views expressed by Dr Firth & Dr Jules are their own and the publishers accept no liability for the advice and views expressed by Dr Firth , Dr Jules, or other users, which are provided as a general service to divers. Users are warned that secondary posts are the views of other users and may not be medically correct.
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