Diving and ear drops

Ear drops
April 2013
Many divers complain about pain in their auditory canals during their diving holiday and have no idea how to deal with it. Every diver should therefore know something about this topic, so that a diving trip does not have to come to a premature and painful end.
Some divers regularly get painful inflammations of their auditory canals, especial y when diving in warm water. The cause is, however, often their own fault: the earwax is frequently found to be disagreeable and divers like to remove it, although it actual y represents a natural protective layer against infections. In addition, using the infamous cotton buds can occasional y cause the earwax to be forced deeper into the auditory canal rather than bringing the it outside the ear.
On the contrary, the most important method of preventing this is regularly rinsing the ears with pure, clean water after each dive. For this purpose you should use the same water that you drink rather than tap water, because the latter may be polluted in some countries. In addition, a bobble hat or something similar should be used as a protection against the wind when there is a bit of a breeze.
It is also possible to use “divers’ ear drops” which are concocted from various mixtures. This is, however, not without controversy, because some of the possible ingredients themselves can exercise an irritant effect on the skin of the auditory canal. It is mainly the alcohol which is added as a disinfectant that irritates the auditory canal, because it removes its oils and dries it out, making it more sensitive as a result. It is better to use glacial acetic acid as one of the ingredients. This also acts as a disinfectant without causing irritation or the skin to dry up, but rather it maintains the slightly acidic environment of the auditory canal. Experts are however stil arguing about the “correct” mixture. What is also important is the care of the auditory canal after the treatment. For example one drop of olive oil (from the pharmacist) applied in the auditory canal on each side is very suitable for this purpose. However, it must be stated that the effectiveness
of al these ear drops has not been scientifical y proven.
Recommended mixtures or recipes for such drops are:
It should final y be mentioned that in severe cases medicinal products may also be used to treat the ears. This is mainly to be recommended in cases when it is known from experience that there is a tendency for the auditory canal to become inflamed. For example, the antibiotic Panotile Cipro is wel known. If you should choose a preparation which at the same time has a painkil ing ingredient, then you should not dive at al , because your sensitivity towards the necessary equalisation of pressure is adversely affected.
aqua med • Am Speicher XI 11 • 28217 Bremen • Germany Tel.: +49 421 222 27-10 • Fax: +49 421 222 27-17 • info@aqua-med.eu • www.aqua-med.eu

Source: http://www.aqua-med.eu/en/files/pdf/01_GB_ear_drops.pdf

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