FAQ - barotrauma
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Any adults out there who experienced barotrauma and had tubes placed in to help?

What were you experiencing and did this procedure help? Are you cured? Would you recommend?

What Are Ear tubes?

Ear tubes are tiny cylinders placed through the ear drum (tympanic membrane) to allow air into the middle ear. They also may be called tympanostomy tubes, myringotomy tubes, ventilation tubes, or PE (pressure equalization) tubes. These tubes can be made out of plastic, metal, or Teflon and may have a coating intended to reduce the possibility of infection. There are two basic types of ear tubes: short-term and long-term. Short-term tubes are smaller and typically stay in place for six months to a year before falling out on their own. Long-term tubes are larger and have flanges that secure them in place for a longer period of time. Long term tubes may fall out on their own, but removal by an otolaryngologist is often necessary.

Who Needs Ear Tubes?

Ear tubes are often recommended when a person experiences repeated middle ear infection (acute otitis media) or has hearing loss caused by the persistent presence of middle ear fluid (otitis media with effusion). These conditions most commonly occur in children, but can also be present in teens and adults and can lead to speech and balance problems, hearing loss, or changes in the structure of the ear drum. Other less common conditions that may warrant the placement of ear tubes are malformation of the ear drum or Eustachian tube, Down Syndrome, cleft palate, and barotrauma (injury to the middle ear caused by a reduction of air pressure), usually seen with altitude changes such as flying and scuba diving.

Each year, more than half a million ear tube surgeries are performed on children, making it the most common childhood surgery performed with anesthesia. The average age of ear tube insertion is one to three years old. Inserting ear tubes may:

reduce the risk of future ear infection,
restore hearing loss caused by middle ear fluid,
improve speech problems and balance prob-lems, and
improve behavior and sleep problems caused by chronic ear infections.

How Are Ear Tubes Inserted?

Ear tubes are inserted through an outpatient surgical procedure called a myringotomy. A myringotomy refers to an incision (a hole) in the ear drum or tympanic membrane. This is most often done under a surgical microscope with a small scalpel (tiny knife), but it can also be accomplished with a laser. If an ear tube is not inserted, the hole would heal and close within a few days. To prevent this, an ear tube is placed in the hole to keep it open and allow air to reach the middle ear space (ventilation).

Ear Tube Surgery

A light general anesthetic (laughing gas) is administered for young children. Some older children and adults may be able to tolerate the procedure without anesthetic. A myringotomy is performed and the fluid behind the ear drum (in the middle ear space) is suctioned out. The ear tube is then placed in the hole. Ear drops may be administered after the ear tube is placed and may be necessary for a few days. The procedure usually lasts less than 15 minutes and patients awaken quickly. Sometimes the otolaryngologist will recommend removal of the adenoid tissue (lymph tissue located in the upper airway behind the nose) when ear tubes are placed. This is often considered when a repeat tube insertion is necessary. Current research indicates that removing adenoid tissue concurrent with placement of ear tubes can reduce the risk of recurrent ear infection and the need for repeat surgery.

What To Expect After Surgery

After surgery, the patient is monitored in the recovery room and will usually go home within an hour if no complications are present. Patients usually experience little or no postoperative pain but grogginess, irritability, and/or nausea from the anesthesia can occur temporarily. Hearing loss caused by the presence of middle ear fluid is immediately resolved by surgery. Sometimes children can hear so much better that they complain that normal sounds seem too loud. The otolaryngologist will provide specific postoperative instructions for each patient including when to seek immediate attention and follow-up appointments. He or she may also prescribe antibiotic ear drops for a few days.

To avoid the possibility of bacteria entering the middle ear through the ventilation tube, physicians may recommend keeping ears dry by using ear plugs or other water-tight devices during bathing, swimming, and water activities. However, recent research suggests that protecting the ear may not be necessary, except when diving or engaging in water activities in unclean water such as lakes and rivers. Parents should consult with the treating physician about ear protection after surgery.

Possible Complications

Myringotomy with insertion of ear tubes is an extremely common and safe procedure with minimal complications. When complications do occur, they may include:

Perforation – This can happen when a tube comes out or a long-term tube is removed and the hole in the tympanic membrane (ear drum) does not close. The hole can be patched through a minor surgical procedure called a tympanoplasty or myringoplasty.
Scarring – Any irritation of the ear drum (recurrent ear infections), including repeated in-sertion of ear tubes, can cause scarring called tympanosclerosis or myringosclerosis. In most cases, this causes no problems with hearing.
Infection – Ear infections can still occur in the middle ear or around the ear tube. How-ever, these infections are usually less frequent, result in less hearing loss, and are easier to treat – often only with ear drops. Sometimes an oral antibiotic is still needed.
Ear Tubes Come Out Too Early Or Stay In Too Long – If an ear tube expels from the ear drum too soon (which is unpredictable), fluid may return and repeat surgery may be needed. Ear tubes that remain too long may result in perforation or may require removal by the otolaryngologist.
Consultation with an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat surgeon) may be warranted if you or your child has experienced repeated or severe ear infections, ear infections that are not resolved with antibiotics, hearing loss due to fluid in the middle ear, barotrauma, or have an anatomic abnormality that inhibits drainage of the middle ear.

If you want further information I would contact your ear, nose and throat doctor and ask him specific questions. It sounds like it should take care of your symptoms.  (+ info)

Hearing Loss treatment Or SNHL treatment or barotrauma treatment?

I am suffering from nerve hearing loss. Is there any treatment available for this? what is that? Does Ginkgo Biloba improves hearing in hard of hearing people. Pl suggest. help

There is typically no treatment for nerve based hearing loss. A couple of nerve based hearing loss etiologies have treatment (example, viral infection can be treated with antivirals or steroids) but most don't. Don't know any supplements that help either. If the loss is single sided, you can wear a hearing aid or look into a BAHA (bone anchored hearing appliance) or VORP (vibrating ossicular replacement prosthesis) which are surgically implanted, if it is bilateral and severe-profound, you may qualify for a cochlear implant.

Good luck  (+ info)

Pressure In Ear!? Ear Barotrauma?

I have had very severe pressure in my ear. Only in my right ear, I can't take breaths through my nose anymore because the pressure builds up and feels like someone shoved a knife into my ear drum. Is this Ear Barotrauma, or something else? I need to get rid of this it is driving me crazy. Are there any treatments at all? Please Help.

Thanks so much.

Timber Wolf

Hi, I'm an Audiologist.

Barotrauma is when a sudden pressure change causes injury in the ear (or other part of the body) -- were you flying or scuba diving when you had a sudden onset of these symptoms? Since you didn't mention that, your symptoms sound more like Eustachian Tube Dysfunction, where something is causing the Eustactian tube that regulates the pressure behind the eardrum to not function properly. Sometimes this will lead to a build-up of fluid in the middle ear cavity, which can become a breeding ground for bacteria.

As the Cut&Pasted answer above suggests, many people do find some relief, although temporary, by performing the ValSalva Maneuver. The Nurse's suggestion to take decongestants can also help reduce the inflammation and reduce the chances of having fluid and/or mucus getting in the middle ear cavity. Be mindful that decongestants are now found BEHIND the counter at pharmacies in the U.S.A., so although you do not need a prescription, you do need to ask for the product at the counter and sign a form.

The ears are highly innervated as a protection, because the structures are so delicate. So even minor amounts of pressure that are not even considered clinically significant are in actuality quite painful. You can also take over the counter pain relievers, such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen to ease your pain. Applying heat to the outer ear can also be helpful (such as by laying with your Right ear on a hot water bottle).

If it doe not resolve within a few days, contact your physician for an examination and possibly referral to an ear specialist. If your symptoms include significant hearing loss, noises in the ear (tinnitus), and/or spinning dizziness (vertigo), go to the Dr. as soon as you can. These symptoms might mean there is something more serious involved and prompt treatment is necessary.  (+ info)

Is there something wrong with my ear drum?

it been 4 yrs already... its always my right ear that uncomfortable- like something is blocking it;when i inhale it tightens; i hear louder on my right ear than my left when i speak;it lasts for 5 mins(almost everyday) my doctor say its something about pressure... i researched online i tinhk its Ear barotrauma? do i have it?

Sounds like it to me. Not sure of the treatment.  (+ info)

rhinitis causing barotrauma of the ear,?

ive had constant rhinitis for 2 years now and recently it has caused my ears to block, ive tried everything to get rid of the rhinitis. sprays, steroid sprays, all tablets, menthol crystals etc some are ok but most are crap!!, doctors dont bother they just keep prescribing the same old tat that just doesnt help, does anyone know any other way to beat this as my hearing is 95% gone on most days an i just cant deal with it anymore, are there surgeries aslo? please help!!

Is your rhinitis related to an allergy? could be worth seeing a specialist.
Have you had a referral to an ENT specialist? Have you ever asked for a second opinion?

Have a look at the site below for the answers to some questions about rhinitis. Good luck, I know it is miserable to say the least.  (+ info)

Would air travel affect intracranial pressures?

Say someone was to travel by plane to another country, while in the other country incurred a traumatic brain injury. Say this person had increased ICPs, would traveling back to the states by plane increase the ICPs further or is the barotrauma that people get from airplanes solely affect the inner and middle ears?

I would assume that it would increase ICP marginally as well as pressures in all the synovial joints. I am an athletic trainer and I have had several patients with osteoarthritis complain of increased pain during flights. Just like changes in atmospheric pressure. However, I don't think that the pressure changes all that much as they try to control the cabin pressure through out the flight.  (+ info)

Something's wrong with my ear drum?

it been 7 yrs already... its always my right ear that uncomfortable- like something is blocking it;when i inhale it tightens; i hear louder on my right ear than my left when i speak;it lasts for 5 mins(almost everyday) my doctor say its something about pressure...

i researched online i tinhk its Ear barotrauma? do i have it?

  (+ info)

Has anyone ever had??? 10 pts!?

Barotrauma for two months. I had a cold over new years then flew home on an airplane and starting like 15 minutes before landing my head hurt so bad and felt like it was going to explode and had a lot of pressure...especially my right ear. The pain and pressure stopped after we landed but ever since it feels plugged, hurts off and on, and has slight hearing loss. I looked it up and think it is barotrauma but that it usually goes away after landing and if it is more serious it can take longer and you should go to the doctor. Anyone ever had this? What did they do when you had it/ what should i do?

  (+ info)

i can hear bubbling noises in my ear? help?

Every time i breathe in or out i can hear my ear 'bubbling' or it sounds like my ear drum is 'flapping' back and forth. it hurts a little bit but not much. it started one morning a few days ago when my jaw was really stiff and i opened it as wide as it would go and i heard a popping sound in my ear. it now feels full and kinda thick...any ideas on wat it it and wat to do?

i had middle ear barotrauma from diving last year if that is any help.

Find someone near you that does Ear Candling. It is a noninvasive technique that can help clean the ear of debris, water and wax buildup.

You can buy these candles for the ear yourself but I recommend you going to someone that you can ask questions & discuss the technique with.

My clients have found great relief from the candling. Some even have improved hearing due to blockage from what was in their ears.  (+ info)

Has breathing compressed nitrous oxide (N2O) seriously damaged my lungs?

Four nights ago I tried N20 for the first time. My friend screwed the whippets into this device that looked like a water bottle. A lever was pressed that let the gas rush out. I took the gas straight from the container and did NOT fill a balloon and inhale from that. I held the big lungfuls of the gas for many seconds before exhaling.

The next morning I woke up with certain symptoms including: tight feeling chest, slight breathlessness, as well as occasional pangs of mild pain. Basically, for the last four days I have been forced to be more conscious of my breathing unless I am distracted.

I suspect I have suffered barotrauma similar to scuba divers who do not exhale the compressed oxygen when they inhale, and possibly burst alveoli/collapsed lung as a result. Symptoms are not extreme, but do not seem to be getting better.

Any advice would be appreciated.

  (+ info)

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