Medical Forum
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Question
Posted : March 14, 2012
Hi Doc, maybe my case is not uncommon and you can suggest a remedy. Recently I have been finding it hard to clear my ears, especially the right one, even though I do not have a cold or feel blocked up or have any kind of 'dull' hearing. Eventually I can get it sorted but it is a pest for my buddy hanging about on a shot line and almost impossible if we are doing a free descent. Can the Eustachian tube get inflamed or narrowed in some way? Anything I can take other than Otrivine or equivalent which does not seem too helpful? Thanks.

Answer
Posted : March 15, 2012
Thanks for the query.

The Eustachian tube is a tricky blighter at times. Its name suggests it is an open cylinder but in fact in its normal condition it is closed - rather than having rigid walls, it is a flexible and collapsible structure. There are numerous factors that can block the passage of air along it - anatomical ones (such as polyps or other swellings), or physiological ones (eg. colds, allergies) are the most common. Rather than throwing drugs at the problem blindly, the important thing is to try and work out the cause; the correct treatment then becomes obvious.

So if this is a recurrent issue, the first step is to get examined, preferably by a diving doc or an ENT specialist. They can then suggest an appropriate solution.

Best of luck

Dr O
Answer provided by Dr Oliver Firth
Dr Ollie Firth
Disclaimer:
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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