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Effects of scuba diving on middle ear pressure

Özyurt, Deniz
Since; the self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba) was developed; the growth in the recreational diving population leaded an increase in diving-related injuries, mostly about the ear barotraumas. Previous findings show that inexperienced divers are more predisposed to ear barotraumas. This study was performed to see the dive related alterations of the middle ear pressure and the compliance of the tympanic membrane due to experience (experienced - skin divers and/or underwater rugby players and inexperienced -not use to skin diving or such water sports) and depth (3m and 12m) in 22 novice divers with normal pre-dive audiometry, tympanometry, and otorhinolaryngologic examination. Pre dive otologic inspections were taken and pre dive / post dive tympanograms were measured for each depth. In 8 ears of the 5 inexperienced divers either hyperemia or hemotympany were observed in the second day̕s (12m) otoscopic inspections. In the first post dive tympanometric measurements; middle ear pressure changes were observed in 19 ears of 14 divers. The compliance was not changed in 5 ears of 3 divers and increased in the reminder. In the second tympanometric measurements, 12 ears of the 8 divers showed negative middle ear pressure and compliance was not changed in 10 ears of 5 divers and increased in the reminder. Due to experience and middle ear pressure changes of each day; no meaningful, statistically significant correlation was found. Also no meaningful correlations were found neither for experience and compliance. A correlation of .542 between experience status and otologic inspection prior to 12m depth dives was a contradiction to the hypothesis أthere would not be any significant difference between experienced and well trained inexperienced groupsؤ as the otologic variations such as hyperemia or hemotympany were only seen in inexperienced novices. Again; the