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April 1993

Inner Ear Barotrauma in Scuba Divers: A Long-term Follow-up After Continued Diving

Author Affiliations

From the Bay Memorial Medical Center, Panama City, Fla (Dr Parell), and the Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, Kaiser-Permanente Medical Center, Panorama City, Calif (Dr Becker).

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1993;119(4):455-457. doi:10.1001/archotol.1993.01880160103016

• Divers who suffer inner ear barotrauma are usually counseled to permanently avoid diving, reasoning that the injured inner ear is at increased risk of further damage. Twenty patients who suffered inner ear barotrauma while diving, but continued to dive against medical advice, were assessed on an interim basis for 1 to 12 years. As difficulty equalizing the ears during the barotraumatic event was a universal finding, prior to resuming diving, all patients were reinstructed on methods of maximizing eustachian tube function. No further deterioration of cochleovestibular function was noted. Based on these preliminary results, we conclude that recommending no further diving after inner ear barotrauma may be unnecessarily restrictive.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1993;119:455-457)

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