Eustachian Tube Dysfunction

Discussion in 'Professionally Qualified, RAMC and QARANC' started by Mr.Brown, Nov 1, 2007.

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  1. I've reposted this from the Health & Fitness forum, as the only responses I received there were taunts about the Rugby.

    To start I should explain that I am an Australian citizen who will be arriving in the UK with a working holiday-makers visa next week. I've put in an overseas application with the Army and am looking serve either as an OP Assistant, Tank Crewman or Line Infantryman.
    I've been through the medical process for entry into the Australian Defence Force where the doctors noted a problem that they though would knock me out of the running for certain jobs, but shouldn't keep me out of the Military entirely, namely a eustachian dysfunction. Basically I have trouble making my ears pop on command, the ENT specialist I saw said specifically that I have "significant negative middle ear pressures" on both ears when he gave me a pressure test, and that I have some minor scarring on my ear drums. He said he thought that I might have a minor case of Eustachian Tube Disease, so I guess at least I can be pleased with the decisiveness he showed.
    That being said I'm fine with flying and have been able to take part in SCUBA diving on about two-dozen occasions without noticeable trouble, save for one dive in which I admittedly descended too fast (so its really my fault). The doc said he thought I'd probably be out of anything with rapid changes in pressure like parachuting, but otherwise he could see no reason why I couldn't handle flying, mountaineering etc.
    I've been assessed on about 5 occasions as having perfect hearing within the last 2 years, and I have no other injuries or health problems of any kind. I've never had any issues with balance, even after flying or diving. So I was wondering if anyone with medical expertise would be able to give me some advise as to whether or not this could be a problem with my application. I am of course aware that I'm out of the running for the Paras, SAS etc, and I'd be perfectly happy serving with any regiment that the Army recommended.
    Any help with this issue would be greatly appreciated, as I'd like to have some solid ideas of whether or not its worth me waiting around in expensive old London for the whole three months or not. And sorry for the length of the post.
  2. I am not an ENT man or even a doctor but the pressure wave from any weapon could cause you a problem, even the rifle and pistol have a pressure wave. Good luck but take care once the hearings gone it gone for ever.
  3. If you have been fine with scuba diving then it's a fair bet that you'll be ok with parachuting too.

    Between sea level and 18000 feet atmospheric pressure halves, the same change would be equal to sea level and 5m underwater. With military static line parachuting you will not go above 1000 feet!
  4. You sir, are my new personal hero. I still don't think I'll apply for the Paras out of fear of wrecking myself trying to do P coy and having to go home after a few months with a broken leg.

    That would be a most upsetting turn of events. But it'd be nice to know I could go all-out further down the road if that suits me.
  5. Well I've fired rifles and pistols before and never noticed any feeling of pressure. Bloody loud of course but that goes without saying.
  6. It is the pressure wave (sound wave)that damages the ear, that why we all wear ear defenders. As I said I am no ENT man but if the Eustachian Tube is blocked it does not allow the pressure behind the ear drum to equalize and it turns the ear drum from trampoline like structure into a pane of glass which then bursts when hit with pressure/ sound wave. Most squadies can go on the range without ear defence a couple of times with little effect but those with ear problems or prolonged exposure can cause very serious damage, i am not talking a bit of gunner ear, but balance , coordination disorders and and total deafness .
  7. Well as I said I'll just have to see what the MO says. Since it's a minor dysfunction I might get away with more than other guys who have inner ear problems. What exactly are ear deafeners? Are they like ear plugs?
  8. This just sounds like glue ear & all it needs is nasal or oral decongestants, oral antihistamines, or nasal steroids which may relieve nasal congestion and enable the eustachian tube to open. If that fails gromets or a myringotomy, end of problem.
  9. Well I know Grommets aren't my friend, as their presence makes you permanently unsuitable for service in HM Armed Forces according to the application guidance notes. Not sure why exactly.
    As to medication I'm not sure, like I said I'll see what the MO says, I've been told I might be referred to a specialist in which case I might be offered some sort of solution, the ENT Specialist I saw back home wasn't much help because he had no idea what would work from a Military perspective. Glad I didn't get the Grommets. Its hardly a problem for me anyway, a slight feeling of fullness in my left ear when I'm on a plane during ascent, and I couldn't equalize a couple of times when I went diving, in each case because I had descended too fast. Just not sure how fussy they'll be at ADSC.

    Anyway cheers lads, wish me luck.
  10. Caused me no bother when I joined unless rules have changed
  11. Well I'm dead sure it says that on the forms. As I said, I have no idea why.

    MOD screw-up perhaps? By the way, are you still in now? Because I'd imagine they'd have to discharge you for having something that gets you blacklisted during the application, yes?
  12. Out 2005
  13. I find it strange that that the Armed Forces won't recruit individuals that have had grommets fitted previously when they are quite readily using them on serving soldiers. Admittldly, I am not an ENT specalist, however, I was assured that grommitts are only a temperary measure in the ear (indeed mine only lasted 3 weeks before being pushed out naturally).

    As for your concerns regarding pressure waves, all weapons can cause problems, however, don't forget the simple things such as vehicle noise which may prove detrimental.

    Its probably advisable to get another check up and hearing test (they can also do a pressure test) and then speak to the recruiting office.

    Merry Christmas and good luck in joining.
  14. Well I can swear by the fact that I have good hearing, every time I've seen someone about this I've been found to have excellent hearing.
    Perhaps the advice I got about grometts (from an ENT specialist who said point-blank that he was retiring in two weeks) was incorrect. That would explain the differences between the MOD forms and what I've been told here.

    Would it do me any good to ask to be referred to a doctor by the recruiters to make sure I can get some pertainent information?