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## Should My Ears Hurt After Scuba Diving?

Scuba diving is an exciting and adventurous activity, but it can also come with some discomfort, including ear pain. Ear pain after scuba diving is a common problem, affecting up to 50% of divers. While it is usually not a serious condition, it can be painful and ruin your diving experience.

### What Causes Ear Pain After Scuba Diving?

Ear pain after scuba diving is caused by a condition called barotrauma. Barotrauma occurs when there is a difference in pressure between the inside and outside of your ear. This can happen when you ascend or descend too quickly, or if you have a blocked Eustachian tube.

The Eustachian tube is a small tube that connects your middle ear to your throat. It helps to equalize the pressure between the inside and outside of your ear. When you ascend or descend, the Eustachian tube opens to allow air to enter or exit your middle ear. If the Eustachian tube is blocked, air cannot enter or exit the middle ear, and the pressure difference can cause pain.

### Symptoms of Ear Pain After Scuba Diving

The symptoms of ear pain after scuba diving can vary depending on the severity of the barotrauma. Mild barotrauma may only cause a slight discomfort, while severe barotrauma can cause severe pain, hearing loss, and even dizziness.

Some of the symptoms of ear pain after scuba diving include:

Pain in one or both ears
A feeling of fullness or pressure in the ears
Hearing loss
Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
Dizziness
Nausea
Vomiting

### How to Prevent Ear Pain After Scuba Diving

There are a few things you can do to prevent ear pain after scuba diving, including:

Equalize your ears frequently. Equalizing your ears is the best way to prevent barotrauma. To equalize your ears, simply pinch your nose and blow gently until you feel a pop in your ears. You should equalize your ears every few feet as you ascend or descend.
Use earplugs. Earplugs can help to prevent water from entering your ears and blocking the Eustachian tube. There are special earplugs designed for scuba diving that allow you to equalize your ears while wearing them.
Descend slowly. Descending too quickly can increase the risk of barotrauma. When descending, descend at a rate of no more than 30 feet per minute.
Ascend slowly. Ascending too quickly can also increase the risk of barotrauma. When ascending, ascend at a rate of no more than 60 feet per minute.

### How to Treat Ear Pain After Scuba Diving

If you experience ear pain after scuba diving, there are a few things you can do to treat it, including:

Use over-the-counter pain relievers. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help to relieve ear pain.
Apply a warm compress to your ear. A warm compress can help to reduce inflammation and pain.
Use ear drops. Ear drops can help to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation.
See a doctor. If your ear pain is severe or does not improve with home treatment, see a doctor. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or other medications to treat the infection.

### Conclusion

Ear pain after scuba diving is a common problem, but it can be prevented and treated. By following these tips, you can help to reduce your risk of ear pain and enjoy your diving experience.

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