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Blowing Too Hard to Pop Your Ears
Bob18902 posted:
I'm a SCUBA diver who has difficulty equalizing my ears, so I often practice poping my ears with the "pinch and blow" method several days before a dive. On occasion, I have blown hard enough that after the ear pops, I can hear a sound like air blowing past my ear. It sounds like I am now blowing hard enough that air is coming out of my ear. There is no pain or fluid, and my hearing is unaffected. Is it possible I just get a pin-hole break in the ear drum, or is this part of normal opperation for an ear?
Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
Yes, you can blow hard enough up those narrow eustachian tubes to rupture your eardrum, from a tiny tear to a full-blow out. You need to be careful.

If you feel your eardrum has been compromised, you will need to have a medical provider, preferably an ENT, to carefully examine you. Some ruptures are small and quickly heal; others can be more problematic. Unfortunately, I have no way of knowing if you did rupture your eardrum based solely on your would take an exam. Sometimes, it can FEEL like air is coming out, but in reality, you are feeling air going into your middle ear space up the eustachian tubes.
Robin4567 responded:
We've all been very sick this season with severe cough, body aches, and ear fullness. After we have been on antibiotics for a while the ear fullness turns to a constant popping. Just tonight my daughter was blowing her nose and felt a loud and painful pop. It was painful for quite a while. Could she have damaged her ear drum?
Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
Possibly...but in most cases, if you do not see blood coming out of the ear canal, the eardrum is likely not ruptured. Of course, I would need to examine her ear to be sure -- not something that I can accomplish, as you know. Increased middle ear pressure can be painful, but it should equalize soon.

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