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Ear Exam



What is Barotrauma?

Barotrauma refers to physical injury or damage that occurs due to changes in pressure between the internal body cavities and the surrounding environment. It commonly happens during activities involving rapid pressure changes, such as scuba diving, flying in an airplane, or riding an elevator.

Barotrauma can affect various parts of the body, including the ears, sinuses, lungs, and other air-filled spaces. It can cause discomfort, pain, hearing loss, congestion, and in severe cases, lead to ruptured eardrums, collapsed lungs, or other complications.

Prompt recognition, prevention, and appropriate management are crucial in minimizing the impact of barotrauma.

Management & Treatment

There are several ways people can manage the discomfort of ear barotrauma which varies depending on each patient's case, including:

  • Equalization Techniques. For ear barotrauma, equalization techniques can be employed to equalize the pressure between the middle ear and the environment. These techniques include swallowing, yawning, or gently blowing with pinched nostrils to open the Eustachian tubes and allow pressure to equalize.

  • Nasal Decongestants. Nasal decongestants are used to treat sinus barotrauma by reducing congestion and inflammation in the nasal passages and sinuses. These medications help open up the airways, allowing proper equalization of pressure and relieving pain and pressure in the sinuses.

  • Medical Interventions. In severe cases of barotrauma, medical interventions may be necessary. For instance, if there is a pneumothorax (collapsed lung) due to pulmonary barotrauma, a chest tube may be inserted to remove trapped air and reinflate the lung.

It's important to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and guidance on the most appropriate treatment for individual cases of barotrauma.


To prevent barotrauma, it's important to be aware of pressure changes and take appropriate measures. For example, during flights or dives, try to equalize pressure in the ears by swallowing, chewing gum, or using specialized earplugs designed for pressure equalization. Scuba divers need to follow proper ascent and descent procedures to avoid lung barotrauma.

If you experience severe pain, hearing loss, bleeding from the ears, difficulty breathing, or other concerning symptoms after exposure to pressure changes, it's important to seek medical attention. A medical professional, such as an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist or a diving medicine expert, can provide proper guidance and treatment.


Having trouble with ear discomfort or concerns?

Learn more about our services for Ears and Hearing Loss concerns at ENT Family in Broward County, easily accessible from Miami, Hollywood, Plantation, Pembroke Pines, Coral Springs & Aventura.

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