External ear barotrauma

Barotrauma de oído externo. Dibujo esquemático del oído externo

External ear barotrauma is very rare, as the auditory canal is usually open to the outside, so it does not present any problems with changes in environmental pressure.

However, when the external auditory canal is obstructed, such as in the case of the presence of earwax or artificial plugs, a cavity is created between the obstacle and the tympanic membrane that, if pressure is not well balanced during descent, can lead to implosive barotrauma, with impaction of the plug and injury to the underlying skin.

The most common symptom is ear pain or otalgia.

Treatment will consist of removing the impacted plug and administering antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops, usually sufficient.

It is also recommended to avoid water entering the canal until the lesions have healed.

To prevent the occurrence of this condition, it is advisable to have a prior ear examination and cleaning, and to avoid using plugs for diving.