CEI Medical Group
California Ear Institute
Global Hearing
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Aerotitis - Barotrauma

Health and function of the human middle ear depends on equal pressure on each side of the eardrum (or tympanic membrane). The eustachion tube connects the middle ear space to the air passages at the back of the nasal cavity and is responsible for pressure equalization. In health, the ET opens with swallowing allowing passage of air pressure into the middle ear (which produces a soft sound or click which is audible). Changes in ambient pressure such as those seen with airline travel, scuba diving, or even swimming under water may exceed the ET’s ability to equalize pressure producing injury to the middle or inner ear. Underlying dysfunction of the ear’s ability to equalize pressure may predispose to injury. Typically, patients will experience pain with the event, a change in hearing, tinnitus, or a balance disturbance during or following elevated-risk activities. Such injuries should be evaluated and treated urgently. Techniques are available to allow those with predisposition to injury of this type to participate in higher risk activities safely.







California Ear Institute