Ear barotrauma is defined by ear discomfort from pressure changes. In every ear, the Eustachian tube links the middle of the ear to the nose and throat which controls ear pressure. If it is blocked, ear barotrauma occurs.
Take note that occasional ear barotrauma is common, particularly in scenarios where the altitude changes. Even though it is not harmful in some cases, frequent cases can result to complications.
What are the indications?
If an individual develops ear barotrauma, it can cause an uncomfortable pressure within the ear. The usual signs which manifests earlier or in mild to moderate cases include:
- Generalized ear discomfort
- Sensation of stuffiness or fullness in the ear
- Minor hearing loss or issues with hearing
In case it progresses without treatment or becomes severe, the symptoms might worsen.
Additional symptoms that might arise include:
- Ear pain
- Sensation of pressure or heaviness in the ears like being underwater
- Damage to the eardrum
- Moderate to significant hearing loss or difficulty
If cared for, most of the symptoms subside. The hearing loss is usually brief and reversible.
Management of ear barotrauma
In most cases of ear barotrauma, it generally recuperates without medical care. There are some self-care measures for immediate relief.
The effect of air pressure on the ears can be relieved by:
- Chewing gum
- Using antihistamines or decongestants
- Practicing breathing exercises
In serious cases, an antibiotic or steroid is prescribed by the doctor for the infection or inflammation.
In some instances, ear barotrauma can lead to a ruptured eardrum. The condition might take up to 2 months to recuperate.