'Deviated Septum | Ears & Diving - DAN Health & Diving
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Ears & Diving

Ears & Diving

Deviated Septum

A deviation of the wall separating the two nostrils that may lead to obstruction of the nasal passages and sinuses is a deviated septum.


The nasal septum is the wall that separates the two nostrils. When the septum is displaced or curved, it is known as a deviated septum. Generally this condition is of little or no consequence and may go unnoticed; affected individuals may experience difficulty equalizing. A deviated septum may be present at birth (congential disorder) or result from trauma to the nose. It is often discovered during a routine physical exam. This condition has been linked to sinusitis as well as barotrauma (sinus and middle ear).


Decongestants may provide some relief. Surgical correction (septoplasty) is typically reserved for those with symptoms such as snoring, nasal obstruction, recurrent sinusitis or sleep apnea.

Fitness to Dive

There is no contraindication to diving with an asymptomatic deviated septum. If recurrent infections or difficulty equalizing occurs, an ENT consultation is suggested. For a referral in your area, email medic@dan.org, or call the DAN Medical Information Line at +1-919-684-2948.

Further Reading

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