Diving is a safe pursuit when we stick within the guidelines.
Ears however do take a little bit of attention to make sure everything is o.k.
If you dive occasionally then apart from issues due to not clearing them properly you should really notice no issues at all.
On that front, equalizing correctly really is so important. As we descend and the pressure builds up we will start to notice the water pressing against our ears. This is easily relieved by swallowing, wiggling your jaw or doing the Valsalva technique. Hold your nose and gently blow out to equalize. If it doesn’t clear then ascend and try again. NEVER keep descending if you have not been able to clear them properly.
Diving with a cold
If you are congested it is tempting to think that taking decongestants may fix
This happens when we are under water and the decongestants start to wear off. In this case you will become blocked up again and have trouble equalizing as you ascend. This is reverse block. This can feel painful and in a worst case scenario cause permanent damage.
The rule to follow here is if you have a cold or feel congested hen don’t dive. Your ears are important and there is always another day to do diving.
The rule of thumb would be if you can clear your ears easily on the surface you are clear to dive
Following this procedures means we will have no problems.
Diving on a regular basis
For dive professionals who are in the water almost every day we need to be extra vigilant about taking care of our ears (although the following recommendations apply to us all)
Keep your ears clean, but not too clean!
Q-tips should be avoided if possible. They will do too good a job of cleaning your ears by wiping away the natural waxy protection.
Rinse your ears after diving. Either with drinking water or with a slightly vinegar solution. These are available commercially under various brand names but you can also make your own by mixing a few drops of vinegar into a liter of drinking water.
Wear a special mask. If you have sensitive ears masks are available on the market that enclose your ears and link these ear pockets to the space in the mask. The theory is that it makes equalization much easier. I have friends who use them and swear by them. I also have many friends who don’t saying they don’t feel the need. Certainly an option….
Alcohol can also be used to rinse your ears and keep them clean.
As I said, good equalization techniques and diving when healthy should allow you to enjoy your diving experience with no issues at all
Also good ‘ear maintenance’ will keep you happy, healthy and in the water
Have fun diving