Equalize your ears: Why and How!
Most of you probably know this from flying an airplane: As soon as you ascend, you feel pressure in your ears. Same when we dive – just the pressure we feel is much stronger! The only way to solve longterm illness for ourself is to equalize our ears. Sadly many people struggle with equalizing… That often comes down to technique and practice. Keep on reading – we’ll share some tips and tricks on how to equalize your ears while Scuba Diving.
Why do we have to equalize?
So many divers think they have an ear problem because they always face problems with equalizing. While some people do have a medical issue with their ears or sinuses, we mostly can attribute this failure to using the wrong techniques or improper execution of what they have learned.
But why do we have to equalize at all? As soon as you put your head below the surface, water flows into your ears. This puts pressure on your eardrums. For most people this isn’t painful in the first meter, but if you don’t equalize your ears, the pressure keeps building from discomfort even to pain. To solve this problem, we must equalize our ears by adding air into our sinuses and Eustachian tubes to counter the water pressure.
The best techniques to equalize:
There are different ways how to equalize. The most common one is probably the Valsvalva Maneuver: We’re pinching our nostrils and we’re blowing through our nose. The resulting overpressure in your throat usually forces air up your Eustachian tubes. In an airplane or during a dive it can create the familiar pop in your ears and relieve pressure.
Another option is Swallowing. Candy or gum help when you fly because chewing on them makes you swallow, which in most cases will equalize your ears. Some goes if you chew a bit (of course not too strong!) on your mouthpiece. Some people even prefer to swallowing over the Valsalva maneuver to equalize their ears while scuba diving.
The third tip is to wiggle or move your jaw from side to side. This stretches the Eustachian tubes, which can equalize your ears. You can also try to move your head from side to side or even attempt all equalizing techniques at the same time or any combination you find helpful.
Divers who experience difficulty equalizing may find it helpful to master several techniques. Practice even at home – in front of a mirror you can even watch your throat muscles.
Make equalizing easier
Now as you know the best techniques to equalize, this will already help you a lot. But check e few other things before the dive and you should be fine. First, always and every time before you are about to enter a Dive Shop or a Dive Boat – check your ears: Are your Eustachien tubes open? Can you hear the “pop” when you swallow?
Then, right before the dive, start already on the surface: Equalize at the surface and then equalize every meter – even if you do not feel any pressure: equalize.
Sometimes looking up might help as well, or even better: Use a descent line where you can hold on and where you can control your descent rate. Also – do not tight your mask to tight and of course: STOP DESCENDING IF IT HURTS! Do not push through pain. In case your ears begin to hurt, ascend a few meter and try again.
Combined with some patience, equalizing techniques should work for most people, even those who think their ears are keeping them from enjoying the underwater world. Our instructors are very patience and helpful as well, don’t worry if you had problems equalizing before – togther we will solve it. Book your Trip for Scuba Diving in Muscat with us now!
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