DAN Medical Frequently Asked Questions

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Understanding Alternobaric Vertigo

Failure to equalize properly can lead to substantial pain and risk of injury. It can also lead to other serious problems like alternobaric vertigo. Do you know what alternobaric vertigo is, what causes it and how to respond if it happens? Take the quiz and find out!-a. tympanic membrane
  • b. cochlea
  • *c. Eustachian (auditory) tube
  • d. semicircular canal
  • e. round window

  • b. Eustachian (auditory) tube
  • c. outer ear
  • d. middle ear
  • e. cochlea

  • b. translating pressure changes into sound
  • *c. balance and equilibrium
  • d. equalization of the outer ear
  • e. coordinating hearing

  • *b. middle ear
  • c. brain
  • d. eyes
  • e. semicircular canals

  • b. continual exchange of gas between the middle ear and the back of the throat except during swallowing or yawning
  • c. periodic absorption of fluid in the middle ear, reducing middle-ear pressure
  • d. periodic fluid movement between the outer and middle ear
  • *e. periodic gas movement into the middle ear such as during swallowing or yawning

  • *b. involuntary rhythmic eye movement
  • c. vomiting brought on by severe nausea
  • d. a panic response that can occur during an AV event
  • e. pain caused by excessive pressure on the tympanic membrane

  • b. severe symptoms may last for hours, making it difficult to surface safely
  • c. elevated middle-ear pressure also means more nitrogen is trapped, increasing the risk of middle-ear bends
  • d. panic could induce hyperventilation, leading to high carbon-dioxide blood concentration
  • e. perforation of the oval window associated with AV leads to debilitating vertigo

  • b. passive equalization before descending
  • c. equalization techniques once reaching maximum depth
  • d. ear plugs to help slow the equalization of pressure in both ears
  • e. decongestants after every dive to help relieve inflammation

  • b. use ear plugs to decrease pressure in the outer ear
  • c. consider using nitrox to reduce damage to the middle ear caused by nitrogen in the breathing gas
  • *d. be evaluated by a medical professional to rule out potentially serious conditions
  • e. dive no deeper than 30 ft (9 m) to avoid excessive pressure changes

  • b. severe nausea lasting 24 hours
  • c. loss of hearing in one or both ears lasting up to several minutes
  • d. shallow-water blackout
  • *e. spinning sensation lasting a few seconds

  • b. ascend slowly to the surface until symptoms subside
  • *c. maintain control, and remain at a fixed depth until symptoms subside
  • d. descend as quickly as possible, and make physical contact with a fixed object until symptoms subside
  • e. equalize actively and frequently until symptoms subside

  • b. ascend slowly, exit the water, and take decongestants before reattempting the dive
  • c. continue the descent as slowly as possible, and swallow until the ears are equalized
  • d. find a depth at which the pain is not bothersome, and continue the dive, equalizing frequently
  • e. stop descending, stabilize and continue to attempt equalization until pain subsides

  • *b. end the dive, because difficulty descending could increase the chance of later complications
  • c. shorten the dive, because lengthy descent increases the chance of having alternobaric vertigo
  • d. slowly surface, completely equalize and reattempt the descent
  • e. stop descent, stabilize and wait for the Eustachian tube to allow passive equalization to occur

  • b. increases during descent and is unable to enter
  • c. decreases during descent and is unable to enter
  • *d. increases during ascent and is unable to escape
  • e. decreases during descent and is unable to escape

  • b. nonrhythmic nystagmus associated with a significant increase in pressure in one ear
  • c. caloric stimulation brought on by a sudden temperature change in both ears
  • d. sudden and significant increase in pressure in one middle ear
  • *e. inner-ear barotrauma


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