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OTORINOLARINGOLOGIA

A Journal on Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery,
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Otorinolaringologia 1999 March;49(1):21-3

Copyright © 2000 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: Italian

Elastic properties of the tympanic membrane in divers and non-divers.

Kreso A., Grdinic B.*, Donkic Pavicic I.*, Vojnic J.*

Ambulatorio di Otorinolaringoiatria, Pola (Croatia) * Reparto di Otorinolaringoiatria, Ospedale Regionale Pola (Croatia)


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Background. The aim of this study was to examine whether recurrent middle ear barotrauma and frequent need for Valsava maneuver while diving, increase the mobility of middle ear vibration system and thus elasticity of divers’ tympanic membrane comparison with nondivers.
Methods. The study included 19 experienced divers, mean age 29 years, who were diving from over 10 years. The control group consisted of 31 non-divers, mean age 31 years. Tympanometric measurement of volume changes of tympanic membrane towards neutral position, have been made with a Interacustics -AT 22 tympanometer which automatically measures the absolute volume equivalent of tympanic membrane movement (compliance) in milliliters. As volume changes are proportional to elasticity of the tympanic membrane, measuring the volume of eardrum movements (compliance), points out the tymopanic membrane elasticity.
Results. Among divers the mean compliance was 1.79 cm3 and in non-divers 0.74 cm3 suggesting statistically significant difference: F=7.61102, P (F<=f)=4.6, T=5.262, P (T<=t)=2.263.
Conclusions. The results show significant greater mobility of middle ear vibration system in divers than in the control group. It can be explained as a consequence of frequent pressure changes on tympanic membrane from outside when diving and inside when performing Valsava’s maneuver. Those pressure changes move eardrum in and out, and during the time cause changes in tympanic membrane elasticity.

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