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Diving with an ear infection - any doctors/ear experts opinions would be welcome

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Iím currently on holiday in the Maldives and my wife and I had booked to go scuba diving tomorrow. She has now come down with an ear infection and has been advised by the doctor that she now cannot dive (meaning I will need to go without her as they will only refund her fee as she is the one with the medical condition).

Sheís absolutely desperate to go (more so than me) and has been trying to find out essentially what the risk is of going diving with an ear infection (ie whatís the worst that could happen) - her rationale being partly based on the fact that she has a history of ear infections and has previously gone swimming etc even though she had been advised against it and has suffered no adverse effects (my thoughts are that diving would pose significantly more of a risk due to the pressure involved etc but thatís purely a guess on my part as I have no medical knowledge).

Clearly my advice to her is to listen to the doctor and not do it but sheís been trying to clarify what the worst case scenario is if she did do it (and if that scenario is particularly unpleasant, what the chances are of it materialising,) she has no pain currently (although did previously) but has a feeling of discomfort and Ďfogginessí in the ear.

As Iíve said above, Iíve told her whatever it is thereís presumably a chance of permanent damage essentially meaning she may have issues for life and/or never be able to go diving but sheís somewhat adamant to find out the risk with it being so rare that you get an opportunity to dive in the Maldives so I thought Iíd reach out on here to check whether anyone can add anything.

Iím fairly sure I know the answer but it would be worth having it confirmed to at least put the matter to bed if nothing else.


Kenny's Jacket:
I have been in the exact same situation in Philippines, we dived anyway and the pain levels went from bad to terrible.
I am categorically NOT saying that this is worst case scenario, but it took 2 days off our holiday where I was in too much pain to do anything but lie on the bed and wait for the antibiotics to do their thing.  In hindsight I would have done things differently.

I would advise the following. The cost of diving compared with that of a holiday in the Maldives is fuck all. Get her refund and both of you dont go until she's better and then both go together.  Diving with your partner is infinitely better than on your own. 

Good luck.  Its fucking baltic, I wish I was in The Maldives  :wave

While she may be able to equalize on the way down (a big if!) the lower you go the higher the pressure, the more chance an ear infection wil come into play and the more chance of something to go wrong. A burst ear drum is the least of the worries as if this happens you now how have incredible pain and a panicky diver 60-100f down to deal with.

Thereís a very valid reason the doctor has said donít go diving with an ear infection. The possibility to snowball issues is quite high.

The situation sucks, and Iím sorry it happened to you guys but rather safe than sorry in this situation.

Thanks for the replies - decision has been made that I will go alone (with an instructor) and we will arrange to do it again together once sheís had chance to hopefully get some medical advice on how to mitigate this in future (as I say she has sensitive ears so itís not an isolated issue).

To come back in Chakanís point - the dive is only 12 metres (so about 40ft, so not as deep as the 60-100ft youíre quoting, presumably as itís our first time diving, but I appreciate the point nonetheless and assume it is still valid at the reduced depth.

No problem, the biggest pressure change in diving is the first 10 meters, unless you are going really really deep. But yeah the point still stands.

Take her snorkeling! That should be something she could still do. Iím not sure about the Maldives but I know Bali had a ton of places where you wouldnít need scuba gear, just fins and snorkel to see some great coral and fish


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