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Health A-Z

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Harvard Medical School

Diagnosis

You can diagnose a mild case of ear barotrauma yourself, and you do not need to see a doctor. If you are uncertain about your symptoms or if your symptoms last a long time, a doctor can examine your middle ear with a lighted magnifying tool called an otoscope to see if the eardrum is pulled inward. Clear fluid behind the eardrum sometimes can be difficult to see. If a collection of fluid is not visible, your doctor may squeeze a puff of air into your ear canal. If the eardrum does not move well, you probably have fluid behind the eardrum. A perforated eardrum can be diagnosed by looking at the ear with an otoscope.

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