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What Chamber Operators Should Know About Ear Barotrauma (and How to Prevent It) (1.0 hour)

Robert Sheffield, CHT and Kevin “Kip” Posey, CHT / June 2018


Ear barotrauma (i.e. “ear block”, “ear squeeze”) is the most common complication of hyperbaric treatment. It occurs when the pressure in the hyperbaric chamber is greater than the pressure in the middle ear. It is prevented by patient assessment, patient education, and the appropriate actions of the chamber operator. The chamber operator has an important role in preventing ear barotrauma in hyperbaric patients.


On completion of this activity, the reader should be able to:

  • Describe the anatomy of the middle ear
  • Explain the mechanism of ear barotrauma
  • Describe 3 techniques to equalize middle ear pressureApproved Continuing Education

[Nurse] 1.0 contact hours. Provider approved by the California Board of Nursing. Provider number CEP17094.

[CHT] This program has been reviewed and is acceptable for 1.0 Category A credit hour by the National Board of Diving and Hyperbaric Medical Technology.

CHT re-certification requires a minimum of nine of the minimum 12 Category A credits relate directly to any combination of hyperbaric operations, related technical aspects and chamber safety.

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