Pressure and Barotrauma

Welcome to All Sensors “Put the Pressure on Us” blog. This blog brings out pressure sensor aspects in a variety of applications inspired by headlines, consumer and industry requirements, market research, government activities, and you.

Pressure and Barotrauma

Changes in barometric (air) or water pressure can cause a body injury called barotrauma. There are several different types of injuries from pressure especially from diving which compresses or expands gas contained in various body structures. Common injuries including:

      • Pulmonary (lung) barotrauma
      • Mask barotrauma (mask squeeze)
      • Ear barotrauma (ear squeeze)
      • Sinus barotrauma (sinus squeeze)
      • Dental barotrauma (tooth squeeze)
      • Eye barotrauma (eye squeeze)
      • Gastrointestinal tract barotrauma (gut squeeze)

Surprisingly, the risk of barotrauma is greatest from the surface to depths of 33 feet (10 meters). Perhaps the most well-known diving barotrauma is the bends, decompression sickness or nitrogen narcosis. The basic recommendation to avoid the bends is ascending slowly from every dive with 30 ft (10 m) per minute being a safe ascent rate.

mystkittsdivebuddy - Decompression SicknessImage source:

Ears are a common location for barotrauma caused by water pressure as noted above but also by a change in altitude when flying in an airplane. Common symptoms include:

      • Pain
      • A feeling of stuffy ears
      • Hearing loss
      • Dizziness

Treatments for ear barotrauma target relieving the pressure and include chewing gum and yawning. In some instances, decongestants may also help relieve the pressure.

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