Ear Problems: Changes in Air Pressure
Ear injuries can occur when air pressure outside the ear increases or decreases while the air pressure inside the ear remains the same. This might happen when an airplane changes altitude or when a scuba diver descends or ascends under water.
- A gradual increase in air pressure outside the ear can cause a buildup of fluid in the space behind the eardrum (Reference otitis media with effusion Opens New Window).
- A sudden, dramatic increase in air pressure outside the ear can cause the Reference eardrum to rupture Opens New Window.
Both of these types of injuries are know as barotrauma.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference January 12, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Reference H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine