Tympanic Hygeine for Divers

About Ear Squeeze for Divers

Ear squeeze, also called Aerotitis, Aero-otitis, Barotitis, or Baro-otitis, results from the effects of a difference in pressure between the internal ear spaces and the external ear canal. These effects may include severe pain, inflammation, bleeding, and rupture of the eardrum membrane. Underwater divers and airplane pilots are sometimes affected. The middle ear, the cavity behind the eardrum membrane, is connected with the nasal cavity (nasopharynx) by a thin, narrow tube known as the eustachian tube. Under normal conditions, when the external air pressure increases or decreases, air from the nose passes through the eustachian tube to equalize the pressure in the middle ear cavity; often, however, the eustachian tube becomes blocked by fluids from head colds, by small tumours, or by an excess of tonsillar tissue around the opening.

--Encyclopædia Britannica Online, "ear squeeze", accessed January 28, 2013.

Watch the first couple of minutes of this YouTube video, which demonstrates an excellent way to teach new divers to equalize their ears: look in the mirror, pinch the ends of the nostrils together, and blow gently until you see the middle of both sides of the nose puff outwards as they inflate slightly. You should hear the air pop into your functioning Eustachian tubes at that time.

Source: a lecture by Dr. Edmund Kay.

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