Medical Forum
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Posted : May 25, 2007

I have never been diving before but was planning to learn next month.
I used to have a perforated eardrum due to repeated ear infections as a child, and about 7 years ago I had an unsuccessful operation to fix it. A year later I had the operation again, and was told that it had worked. However, ever since then I find it immensly painful whenever water gets into my ear, and it's as if I can feel the water inside my ear, although my ear infections have never reoccured. Does this mean that my eardrum is still perforated or do you think this could be due to something else?
I normally use plugs for swimming, etc, but have just found out that I cannot use them for scuba diving.
I've heard about some earplugs called Proplugs and wasnt sure if these might be of any use to me? Or if there's anything else that might help me?

Many thanks

Posted : May 29, 2007
Hello. I would be very cautious about diving as there is no guaranteed way of keeping water out of your ear. Vented plugs are anecdotally helpful with equalisation but there is no hard scientific data on them. The risk is that if they were to block or fail then an influx of cold water could be painful and quite possibly provoke nausea, vertigo and vomiting. I'd suggest you see an ENT doctor before you go diving to assess the eardrum properly as diving with a perforation is not a good idea.
Answer provided by Dr Oliver Firth
Dr Ollie Firth
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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