It is one of the most common as well as painful diver problems: painful ear pressure.
Fortunately there are a couple of tricks and techniques which facilitate easy equalising while diving .
- First priority: Check you physical fitness!
It is definitely not recommended to go diving with a cold! If you don’t know if you’re too sick for diving, you can question yourself: Do I feel good enough to do a walking tour? Can I easily breathe through my nostrils? Can I equalize my ears with minimal effort on land? Ignoring a cold can cause significant problems during your dive. It’s likely that you’re not able to equalise while descending and ascending which in turn can cause serious ear damage, breathing compressed air can lead to coughing fits, you can get a ear barotrauma….
The list of consequences is endless, therefore watch your body and be reasonable!
2. Find your own best technique
Every human being has a different body functioning in different ways. There are several techniques for equalising. The best you can do is to find your own best technique that works best for you.
3 of the most common methods are:
- Pinch your nose and swallow: Close your nostrils and swallow.
- Pinch your nose, blow and swallow: Close your nostrils, blow and swallow at the same time.
- Pinch your nose and blow: The most common method, close your nostrils and blow through your nose.
- But watch out!
Don’t blow too hard and keep the pressure for more than 5 seconds! It is important to equalize gently. If it happens that the pressure doesn’t disappear keep on equalizing several times, but strong unpleasant pain should be a warning signal (“It hurts like hell!”). Ascend a few feet and your ears will probably open themselves. You should never try to push yourself to the limits ignoring the pain in your ears. In case that you can’t equalize your ears, move towards surface and discontinue your dive. It is a pity to interrupt a dive, but your health has priority.
- What else makes equalizing easier?
- A head- up position while descending and ascending
- Don’t wait until you feel pressure or even pain, start equalizing as soon as you submerge or even on the surface
- Some divers swear by chewing gum. Chew chewing gum before and between your dives
Hopefully an appropriate technique or Tip for you is involved and you can easily equalize on your next dive!