Author : H. Abid, Alaa
The Medical Journal of Basrah University,
Volume 24, Issue 1, Pages 50-54
Background: Ear problems, particularly hearing loss, in divers are well known and documented all over
the world. Studies showed that they form the most common health problems among divers. However, it
seems that this problem has never been investigated in the Iraqi divers population.
Aim: This cross-sectional comparative study is an attempt aims to contribute to the better
understanding of the extent and impact of the problem among the local divers and to relate certain risk
factors associated with diving.
Subjects & Methods: One hundred and eleven divers and 222 non-divers were interviewed regarding this
problem and examined audiometerically.
Results showed that 45% of the studied divers complained of some sort of ear problems. In a
considerable number of them the problem is serious. Audiometerically, about 50.5% of divers have some
degree of hearing loss. There was a significant difference in the prevalence of hearing loss in divers as
compared to non-divers. Furthermore, hearing loss problem among divers was more severe than in nondivers
and it was mostly bilateral. High frequencies are the ones affected more.
The role of certain proposed risk factors was studied with few conclusive findings; these are the
association between hearing loss and underwater blast, maximum depth, duration of profession and
underwater diving accidents.
Further studies and regular check-ups are strongly recommended.