Ear barotrauma

Ear barotrauma – damage to the middle ear as a result of sudden changes in atmospheric pressure.

To maintain the same pressure on both sides of an intact tympanic membrane, the normal functioning of the auditory tube is essential. When swallowing, the auditory tube opens for a moment, but with diseases of the nasopharynx (most often the traditional cold), this mechanism is disrupted.

The reasons

The cause of ear barotrauma can be an increase in external pressure, such as driving through a tunnel or diving, but most often – flying in an airplane. Rising to a height, that is, a decrease in pressure (decompression), traditionally does not cause discomfort, since air enters the middle ear cavity through the auditory tube. However, when descending, especially fast, the patency of the tube may be disturbed, and even swallowing movements and exhalation according to the Valsalva method do not always restore it. At the same time, low pressure is maintained in the middle ear cavity, fluid can accumulate and the eardrum collapses.


At the moment of barotrauma, a sharp “blow” to the ear and severe pain are felt. There is a decrease in hearing, sometimes dizziness, noise and ringing in the ears are detected. With a rupture of the eardrum – bleeding from the external auditory canal


When the tympanic membrane is ruptured, bleeding from the external auditory canal. With otoscopy, hyperemia, hemorrhage into the tympanic membrane, and sometimes its rupture are visible. With hemorrhage into the tympanic cavity, a characteristic dark blue translucence can be seen through the whole tympanic membrane.


If there is no rupture of the eardrum, then a lump of sterile cotton wool is introduced into the external auditory canal. If the membrane is ruptured, sulfanilamide powder or antibiotics shoul

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