I got an email from the head of this study, David F. Colvard, MD, of Raleigh, North Carolina. His team has shown that nasal irrigation can help solve a common problem for scuba divers: middle ear squeeze. This refers to the phenomenon divers experience during ascent and descent in the sea, when external pressure differences cause compression in the middle ear. This can cause damage and hearing impairment, if serious. To combat this, usually divers take a decongestant in either pill or spray form. However, Dr. Colvard’s study has shown that nasal irrigation helped divers achieve middle ear equalization and reduced their reliance on decongestants.
Between November 2005 and September 2006 one hundred (100) scuba divers completed web-based “Before” and “After” questionnaires. They were invited to participate based on a diver safety survey conducted in 2004 by Dr. Colvard. Only those divers who reported difficulty equalizing the pressure in their middle ears or were using decongestants were invited to participate in the study. After completing the “Before” questionnaire, the study participants were sent free samples of NeilMed’s SINUS RINSE™ buffered saline nasal irrigation system. They completed the “After” questionnaire after using the product and completing the diving.
Study highlights include the following:
Forty-four (44.0%) reported less nasal congestion after using SINUS RINSE™ system.
Sixty-nine (69.0%) reported reduced difficulty in clearing or equalizing their ears.
Forty-one of 68 divers (60.3%) who used oral decongestants reported decreased use, or discontinued use completely.
Twenty-one of 38 divers (55.3%) who used decongestant sprays or nasal drops reported decreased use, or discontinued use completely.
None reported increased use of decongestants in any form.
Seventy-two (72.0%) were satisfied with their experience and indicated that they would recommend the SINUS RINSE™ system to other divers.
This NeilMed stuff *IS* pretty good. I wanted to report this study because I also participated in a NeilMed study (not this one), and I had to admit that I felt a huge improvement in my allergies after using it for 6 weeks everyday. Its pretty simple, sterile saline packet and warm water in a nozzled-bottle. And its not as uncomfortable as you’d think. Check out www.NeilMed.com or www.divepsych.com for more info.