Barotrauma of the ear — swelling, symptoms and treatment of barotrauma

How to recognize and cure barotrauma ear?

For anybody not a secret that in the environment in air and in water, a certain level of atmospheric pressure. In the hearing aid man also, there are air-filled cavities, each of which is maintained at a pressure normally aligned with the atmospheric.

If this correspondence is broken and the internal pressure relative to the outside is not aligned, it is likely that it will end barotraumas ear. This can occur, for example, during class freediving during takeoff and landing transport, as well as in research diving at great depths.

The causes of barotrauma

From a medical point of view barotrauma is an injury of soft tissues and organs caused by the pressure difference in the atmosphere relative to the inner. The increase or decrease of these indicators causes the development of strain that could cause injury.

The result of barotrauma often affected nasal sinuses, gastrointestinal tract, liver and lungs, but most often affects the organs of hearing.

Causes of injury leading to the development of this disease there may be:

  • high blood pressure;
  • inflammation of the nasopharyngeal region;
  • flights on the aircraft;
  • sharp descents after the climbs with great depth (for the most part it is relevant to divers and snorkelers).

When you travel, people may experience an unpleasant sensation in the ear, often resulting in pain. This symptomatology indicates violations of the vibration of the eardrum, leading to an increase in its tension, which entails the development of barotrauma.

Barotrauma of the middle ear

The most common type of barotrauma, obtained by diving under water — barotrauma of the middle ear. The disease can be categorized as diseases, in which the most vulnerable is the eardrum, which is a partition between the outer ear and middle.

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The increase in pressure is often accompanied by the appearance of sharp pain in the ear, and, if you do not take any measures in order to align the ratio of blood pressure, these can lead to rupture of the eardrum.

With increasing external pressure, the eardrum is pulled into the inner ear, leading to stretching of nerve endings.

This complication may lead to further problems and can lead to inflammation and the development of deafness.

One of the symptoms of disease is barotraumatic swelling of the ear. Damage to the middle part of the ear cause a violation of the functional characteristics of the vestibular apparatus, with the result that it is likely to lose orientation.

In addition, this barotrauma is a potential threat to human life.

Barotrauma of the inner ear

The most serious case of barotrauma of the inner ear. The disease can occur when a strong pressure drop, or ignoring of unpleasant symptoms (for example, the diver continues to go on immersion, not paying attention to the damage to the middle ear).

In this case, ruptures the partition between the middle and inner ear — the so-called membrane of the round window. The fluid that fills the inner ear (the perilymph), it occurs in the middle ear cavity. Normal operation of the organ of hearing is disturbed, hearing acuity falls sharply. If time does not provide a victim with immediate medical attention, he could permanently lose the hearing.


As with any other disease, barotrauma has its own characteristics. On the presence of a pathology indicative sensation of impact inside the ear, ears or head. Almost immediately, the symptoms are supplemented with a Bang and ringing in the ears, and reduced hearing.

In some cases, modifications being made to the overall health and condition of the victim, which is manifested disorders of the neurological plan.

Attention! Minor breakthroughs partitions, barotrauma is characterized by asymptomatic course. It may continue long enough. However, after a time, this pathology leads to the development of otitis media due to infection at the site of injury.

A characteristic feature of barotrauma in the complicated for is perforation of the eardrum, which often leads to deafness.

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The main symptoms of ear barotrauma are:

  • bleeding from the auditory passage;
  • cause dizziness;
  • clouding of consciousness;
  • the loss of orientation.

Observed in medical practice and cases barotrauma in which the eardrum remains intact. Symptoms are accompanied by feeling of stuffiness of the ears, and sounds are muted. The disease can vary in its nature of occurrence and degree of complexity.

Damage the middle and inner ear, the patient may experience a sense of deafness on one or on both sides. In cases of rupture of the tympanic membrane is often diagnosed bleeding from the ear canal. The fluid entering the middle ear is accompanied by dizziness and nausea.


With the purpose of determination of barotrauma is high-quality diagnostics. The disease is determined on the basis of complaints of the patient when considering the causal factors that could lead to such manifestations.

Clarification of the diagnosis is achieved by a survey of special methods for inspection of the tympanic membrane is microeconomia and otoscopy. Conducting audiometry is performed for the diagnosis of hearing impairment.

In case of bleeding from the external auditory canal the examination is carried out after the event.

As additional methods of examination, excluding internal injuries of a different nature can be used:

  • radiography;
  • Ultrasound;
  • MRI;
  • computer-aided diagnosis.

First aid

With an average form of barotrauma is allowed first aid: it is necessary to free the ear canal, closing it with a dry cotton swab and attach to the ear with gauze. When severe pain is recommended to use painkillers.

Attention! If we are talking about a severe form of barotrauma involving rupture of the membrane, to resort to independent measures is not recommended. In this case, you need to seek help from professionals.

Treatment of barotrauma of the ear

For treatment of the disease needs a professional approach.

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After a detailed examination and determine the extent of damage to develop an individual treatment plan.

In some cases, treatment of the ear with a solution of Hexamine, appointed injections of Neostigmine and ascorbic acid.

When expressed dizziness is assigned Aeron in pill form sedatives, and sedatives. Can also be applied antibiotic therapy.

Complicated course of the disease, occurring in severe form, treated with surgical methods. Thus the normalization of the pressure.

Details about first aid in barotrauma of the ear, see the video located below in our article.

Prevention of barotrauma is in compliance with the rules and requirements on safety during dives to great depths and travel. In addition, it is recommended to timely treatment of ENT diseases.