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