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Home :: Barotitis Media

Barotitis Media

Barotitis is an inflammation of the ear caused by changes in atmospheric pressure. It is also called aerotitis. This is a problem of inflammation or bleeding in the middle ear caused by a difference between the air pressure in the middle ear and that of the atmosphere - as occurs in sudden changes of altitude, in diving, and in hyperbaric chambers.

Damage to the middle ear caused by pressure changes. This is very common in scuba divers.


Damage caused by sudden, increased pressure in the surrounding air, such as occurs in the rapid descent of an airplane or while scuba diving. In these activities, air moves from passages in the nose into the middle ear to maintain equal pressure on both sides of the eardrum. If the tube leading from the nose to the ear (eustachian tube) doesn't function properly, pressure in the middle ear is less than outside pressure. The negative pressure in the middle ear sucks the eardrum inward. Blood and mucus may later appear in the middle ear. This damage is more likely if you have a nose or throat infection when scuba diving or traveling by air.

Signs and symptoms

  • Hearing loss (to varying degrees).
  • A plugged feeling in the ear.
  • Severe pain.
  • Dizziness.
  • Ringing noise in the ear.


  • Your own observation of symptoms.
  • Medical history and exam by a doctor.


A person with an acute upper respiratory infection or allergic reactions should be advised not to fly or dive. However, if these activities are undertaken, a nasal vasoconstrictor such as phenylephrine 0.25 percent applied topically 30 minutes before descent is of prophylactic value.

Home Treatment

If fluid drains from the ear, place a small piece of cotton in the outer-ear canal to absorb it.


  • For minor discomfort, you may use non-prescription decongestants and pain relievers such as acetaminophen.
  • Your doctor may prescribe :-
    • Stronger prescription decongestant nasal sprays or tablets. Use for at least 2 week. after damage.
    • Corticosteroid nasal spray.
    • Antibiotics if infection is present.
  • Don't scuba-dive when you have an upper-respiratory infection.
  • On feeling ear pain while scuba diving, stop the descent, ascend,a few feet and try to equalize pressure. If you cannot equalize the pressure, terminate the dive.
  • If flying, take a moderate-size breath, hold the nose and try to force air into the eustachian tube by gently puffing out the cheeks with the mouth closed.

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Disclaimer: website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. Always take the advice of professional health care for specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment. We will not be liable for any complications, or other medical accidents arising from the use of any information on this web site. Please note that medical information is constantly changing. Therefore some information may be out of date.