Should I see a doctor about this?

Ok, so I went to Monterey again this last weekend with a dive buddy, and we had a dive on Thursday with no trouble then three dives on Friday with no trouble. We were going to do a night dive on Friday night, however, I couldn’t get my ears to equalize at all. I’m talking not even a little bit. I could equalize fine at the surface, but the moment I was submerged in any depth, even 4 or 5 feet, couldn’t equalize at all and started to get a headache from trying to equalize so much. After 17 min of trying to equalize at varying depths between 4 and 8 feet, I finally said screw it. When I came up to the surface, the moment I broke the surface of the water I got slammed by a huge wave of dizziness/vertigo and felt like the world was tilting 90 degrees left and right for about 45 seconds to a minute.

I called DAN and they said to start taking Sudafed and ibuprofen and it should resolve in 1-2 days (and they did confirm that it was barotrauma which I suspected), but they didn’t mention anything about seeing a doctor. I only had that one instance of dizziness/vertigo, no discharge from ears, no bleeding, no pain, no loss of hearing, nothing else. I’m not sure if anyone has knowledge of hyperbaric or diving medicine but what would you recommend? And before anyone asks why I don’t just pay the $20 copay or whatever to go see a doctor, I don’t have health insurance right now, so I’m paying the whole thing out of pocket if I do go…hence why I don’t want to unless it’s necessary.

My main concern at this point is future problems with equalization or risk of barotrauma since I’m obviously going to keep diving, but at the same time, I’m aware that the middle ear is very prone to infection which can lead to complications.


The ONLY smart play on this is to consult with someone who knows this topic & knows it well. To be frank, I have no idea…but if it had happened to me, DAN would have been my 2nd call AFTER contacting a physician knowledgible about diving physiology. While h/a, n/v & some vertigo are primarily annoying, loosing your equilibrium, esp UNDER water, has grave implications. So, why chance it? It ain’t worth it…call someone ‘in the know’.