April 30, 2010
The twists and turns of a roller coaster ride can leave you breathless – but US doctors warn it could also cause temporary hearing loss.
The Detroit team report a case where a man turned to speak to his girlfriend on a ride – exposing his ear to the full impact of acceleration.
It led to an ear injury more commonly linked to scuba-diving or air travel.
A UK expert said the problem could be seen more often as roller coasters became higher and faster.
The injury the 24-year-old experienced is a barotrauma, which occurs when there is a relatively quick change in pressure between the external environment, the ear drum and the pressure in the middle ear space.
Symptoms include dizziness, pain and a sensation of having the ears “pop”. In the most severe cases, it can lead to temporary hearing loss.