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Thread: ear problem pure O2

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    Guest comeagutsa is an unknown quantity at this point comeagutsa's Avatar
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    ear problem pure O2

    hi,

    recently ive been diving my rebreather as a pure O2 unit. My dives have been between 3-4 meters deep , usually about 1-2 hrs in time.

    The problem ive been haveing is that the morning after the dive my left ear is sore . the symptoms usually last 30min and consist of a pinging sound in my left ear when i take my first drink of the day and a little bit of sorness wich disapears after 30min . And within 2 days im back in the water without a problem.
    Ive seen 2 doctors both have said i have no visible signs of damage in my left ear and my hearing is fine. The second Doc said it could be my eustation tube wich is getting blocked and he offered decongestants.

    I dive regularlly and have never experianced such a problem till i started diving the shallows . could this just be poor form on my part and me being too slow to equalize(greater pressure differentials at shallower depths), if so then why just in one ear? or does it have something to do with the pureO2??
    or is just a blocked eustation tube???

    has anyone experianced similar issues?

    any info would be great

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    Re: ear problem pure O2

    When equalizing you are putting pure 02 into the middle ear. This gas gets trapped after you have ascended and can remain for some time afterwards.
    The body will then metabolize that gas leaving you with a squeeze.

    A good couple valsalvas after a dive will help exchange this gas relieving the problem.

    Give it a try.

    Cam

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    Re: ear problem pure O2

    The tissues in you inner/middle ear absorb the O2 and therefore the pressure drops as O2 being absorbed, leaving lower pressure than the pressure of the surrounding tissues. Therefore to equalize the pressure differential, your body fills the place of the O2 with fluid. That is when the things can really go nasty and painful. As it was stated above a few valsalvas,every 15-30 minutes for 2-4 hours after the dive help to eliminate the problem. I hope it helped.interesting reading regarding this issue by Jeff Bozanic: HQonline.net, Oxygen and Your Ears, Middle Ear Oxygen Absorption Syndrome, Jeff Bozanic's Web Site


    Roland

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    Re: ear problem pure O2

    This really is an interesting thread.
    Some time ago I was wondering exactly about the same issue ( E/N clogging)
    I was suspecting the sanity of my loop then, and knew my left ear was more prone to catch infections.

    Still, shallow waters are likely to be inhabited by contaminants, provided they are adjacent to shore, which for some strange reason happens quite often.

    Matthias

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    Re: ear problem pure O2

    Quote Originally Posted by MatV  View Original Post
    This really is an interesting thread.
    Some time ago I was wondering exactly about the same issue ( E/N clogging)
    I was suspecting the sanity of my loop then, and knew my left ear was more prone to catch infections.

    Still, shallow waters are likely to be inhabited by contaminants, provided they are adjacent to shore, which for some strange reason happens quite often.

    Matthias

    I am surprised that this was not covered during your initial CCR training.. I know I cover it with every CCR student.. Unlike OC, on a CCR you are usualy forcing very oxygen rich gas into your estacian tubes while equalizing.. after the dive our body will use this excess o2, and create the same conditions as if you never equalized.. On an o2 rebreather (or someone tha flushes with o2 on the surface) this would be the absolute worse condition..

    think of it this way if you had 70% in the loop, and forced this into your estacian tubes, eventually all the o2 is used and you have lost nearly 70% of the volume in your estatian tubes! This is a big relative pressure differential..


    I recommend to my students that they equalize on the surface a few times an hour for several hours after surfacing..
    Joe Radomski
    CCR Trimix Instructor Trainer
    ANDI Instructor Trainer Director #10

    All posts are personal opinions and DO NOT reflect any affiliated agency unless specifically stated.

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    Re: ear problem pure O2

    This has been a tricky one for me. I'm not sure "inner ear absorption" even covers the whole story for me. I've come to the conclusion that high o2 is downright irritating to my ears. Equalizing for several hours after a dive helps, but the thing that has helped the most is "equalizing" many times immediately after the dive to quickly exchange the high o2 inside the ear with air. I gently over pressure my ears, (addind 80% nitrogen/air), into the inner ear, creating a bit of a bellows effect, as some of the gas releases from my ear...essentially replacing the o2 with air, if I do this say 10-15 times shortly after the dive and then also several times of the next few hours, I avoid any issues. If I don't do this, I end up with fluid inside my ear and loss of hearing for days, sometimes weeks and even some minor accumulative long term loss. This is one of those problems that bothers some people a lot and doesn't bother others at all, I think it depends a lot on how your body tolerates high o2.
    Last edited by Gill Envy; 19th February 2009 at 16:12.

    Gill Envy

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    Re: ear problem pure O2

    Ever get that sense of deja vu?

    Must be a glitch in the matrix...

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    Re: ear problem pure O2

    Quote Originally Posted by jradomski  View Original Post
    I am surprised that this was not covered during your initial CCR training.. I know I cover it with every CCR student..
    .
    Joe, I was trying to think how to tactfully say the same thing. But now that you brought it up. I think this topic was covered in every tech class that I took form Robin as well as other instructors. Even the shitty ones, that you know about. I wonder how someone could get to CCR without ever hearing this.

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    Re: ear problem pure O2

    thanks for the replys . All the information is much appreciated.

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    Re: ear problem pure O2

    My wednessday EVENING dives (normal CCR dives with buddy) are without exception followed by ear trouble the next day. My DAY (CCR) dives and OC dives (air only) don't have this.

    The assumption that O2 does cause this makes sense to explain all this. After a day dive I have plenty of opportunity to equalize whereas I need to go to bed rightaway after the evening dives. I assume its the pressure differential as a result of metabolizing the O2 causing it rather than a biochemical type of irritation.

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