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Ear squeeze: A usual problem in diving

Ear squeeze or ear pain is a very common problem which most divers go through some time or another. This problem happens as a consequence of the pressure differences between the environment and the middle ear. The differences in the environment and the pressure physics which are explained by several laws have a direct implication with this problem which many divers have to suffer.

Since this problem happens in the middle ear and in order to understand the roots of this pain it is important to know what it consists on. The middle ear is a space formed by the tympanic membrane, also known as eardrum, and bone. This space is filled with air and is connected by a tube to the throat.

The tube which connects the middle ear with the throat is called the Eustachian tube, and the air which passes through it maintains a balance between the pressure of the middle ear and the pressure of the environment in which the person is. This way, it is fundamental that this tube functions properly in order to be able to maintain the balance among the pressure of the middle ear and the pressure existing in the exterior.

If the pressure of the air that is in the Eustachian tube changes and is not the same than the environment one, then the person would suffer what is called ear squeeze. While diving, the pressure of the water can cause the Eustachian tube not to be able to adapt the middle ear pressure equally to the environmental one and therefore the divers can suffer this problem very often.

Ear squeeze can affect divers not only in the middle ear but also in the inner ear and the external one. These problems might be caused due to diving while having a cold, having an allergy, wearing a hood too tightly, or wearing a mask that fits too tight over the ear. Whenever a diver feels the symptoms of a ear squeeze, he should go back to the surface right away since this could be very dangerous for him.

The first symptom which divers usually notice and let them know they are going through an ear squeeze is ear pain. Besides this, there are some other common symptoms of ear squeeze that can be easily noticed such as having a hearing loss, hearing a ringing in the ear, suffering nausea and even vertigo.

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