Saturday, December 10, 2005

Whooshing Noise in Ear After Diving

Dear Scubadoc:

I am a newly certified diver. However, I have a problem with water in my ears. I went to see my doctor who is a scuba diver himself. He prescribed a strong anti-decongestant and said to take the pills all the way through our scuba diving trip to Raotan. We leave a week from today.

My problem is that I keep hearing a whoosing noise in my right ear. It has gotten a little better, but it is very annoying. My doctor said I am hearing the whooshing noise because my eustacian tube is blocked. I have heard the whooshing before taking up scuba diving but never realized what it was. (I do a lot of swimming.)

My question is, how long can I expect to hear the whooshing moise? What do you think is causing it? And I doomed to going to sleep the rest of my life with a little fan next to me to shut out the whooshing noise?

Thanks.

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Answer from Dr. Allen Dekelboum:

Your question was referred to me for comment.

The presence of the whooshing sound prior to diving and the fact that
it seems to be in rhythm with your pulse suggests that it has nothing
to do primarily with diving. The carotid artery runs very close to the
inner ear and when the ear is blocked to sounds from the outside, like
the fluid in your middle ear, you can hear your pulse clearly. This
can also occur when you lay on that ear at bedtime. It generally is of
no importance, but you should mention it to your doctor as there are
some other concerns that he/she might want to investigate. I would
also suggest that you see your doctor before leaving on the trip to be
certain all the fluid in your middle ear has resolved and that you are
able to equalize easily. I am attaching my tips for equalizing which
might make it easier for you to clear your ears while diving.

This advice is based solely on the information you have given me and
without examining you personally I cannot be certain of the diagnosis.
My recommendations are for information only and you should consult your
doctor for a diagnosis.

Allen Dekelboum, M.D.