Doctor's Notes on Ear Squeeze
Ear squeeze is the adverse effects of pressure changes on the inner ear that can occur with scuba diving or with altitude changes (airplane trips) that create differences in pressure between the external environmental pressure and inner ear pressure.
Signs and symptoms may include
- ear pain,
- fullness or pressure feeling in the ear,
- ringing in the ear,
- hearing loss,
- nausea and/or vomiting,
- vertigo, and
- possibly discharge from the ear, nose, or mouth.
Scuba divers may become disorientated.
Causes of ear squeeze are differences in inner ear pressure from that in the external environment. Such pressure differences may occur when a person does not equalize ear pressure when diving, during air travel, quickly changing altitude (skydiving) and when items like ear wax blockage or other things seal off the inner ear.
What Are the Treatments for an Ear Squeeze?
Treatments for ear squeeze are as follows:
- Rest: Avoid any situation that may cause pressure changes like scuba diving, air travel, coughing, or strenuous work.
- If you must travel by air, try decongestants before boarding and try to equalize ear pressure by chewing gum or yawning.
- Pseudoephedrine: decongestant (avoid if you have hypertension or heart rhythm problems)
- Pain relief: acetaminophen, ibuprofen
- Take oral antibiotics if you get discharge from ears, nose, or mouth. See your doctor if you get this sign.
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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.