What are the ways to equalize the pressure in one’s ears when in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber?
As the hyperbaric chamber is pressurized, your eardrum is pushed slightly inward. This is normal, but it can be painful if you do not equalize the pressure in your middle ear. Prior to your treatment, your hyperbaric technologist will teach you ways like those below to relieve this sensation of pressure.
The Valsalva maneuver:
- Gently pinch your nose closed and close your mouth. In a short and gentle way, attempt to blow through your nose while holding it shut. This gentle maneuver should allow ear pressure to be released
- Try yawning, swallowing, or drinking small sips of water.
- Lift your tongue to the roof of your mouth and swallow
You may have to repeat these methods several times during the pressurization phase of treatment. If you have difficulty with your ears, please tell your tender or chamber operator immediately. Pressure sensation in the ear is to be expected, what is not to be expected is pain in the ear. Do not wait until the sensation of pressure starts to hurt.