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Have you ever had any problem to equalize ear pressure? Do not worry! You are in the correct blog to solve them.
One of the first lessons of our PADI Scuba Diver or Open Water Course was how to equalize ear pressure. As you know, we could not dive without this skill. However, while most people equalize ear pressure easily, others find problems. Let’s consider some tips to solve them.
Why Is It Necessary To Equalize Ear Pressure?
Equalizing ear pressure is a simple concept we need to understand to avoid problems and find strategies to overcome them.
Divers are vulnerable to ear problems because the delicate mechanisms that govern our hearing and balance just aren’t designed for the rapid pressure changes that result from diving.
Inside your middle ear are dead air spaces connected to the outer world only by the Eustachian tubes. As long as you are descending, the pressure in your outer ears increases and you need to match the pressure in your middle ears with that outer pressure building up.
To do that, you need to let the air enter the middle ear. Ear equalization methods are about opening Eustachian tubes to that.
Troubleshooting To Equalize Ear Pressure
There are two groups of methods to equalize ear pressure: equalization maneuvers and pressurization maneuvers.
The equalization or leveling maneuvers are focused on opening the Eustachian tube to equalize the pressures affecting the middle and outer ear. Examples include yawning, swallowing saliva, tilting the head back and shaking sideways, etc.
There are different pressurization maneuvers, but the Valsalva method is the best known. This maneuver consists of closing the air outlets like the mouth and nose (pinch your nostrils), and blowing gently after that. In this way, air can only go towards the ears. When the diver hears a “faint pop”, he knows he has managed to open the Eustachian tubes and compensate the ears.
Valsalva maneuver disadvantages.
If the Eustachian tubes are already closed because of the pressure, the Valsalva maneuver may not be effective. It is because the maneuver does not activate Eustachian tubes’ muscles to work by themselves. It just pushes against them with air.
– Some damage to the ear is possible if too much force is used to compensate.
– It can lead to a broken tympanic membrane and loss of hearing.
We have collected ten useful tips for you to avoid all these troubles.
How To Avoid Problems To Equalize Ear Pressure Before Diving
- Do not dive with a cold or allergy: you can find out more about this in the article. Diving With a Cold, Is It Possible?
- Compensate your ears before you start diving: this training will warm you up and make it easier for you to compensate during diving.
- Eat gum: ff you eat gum, the activation of the chewing muscles trains the muscles needed to open your Eustachian tubes. It is good proper training, and it will be easier to equalize ear pressure when you need to do it.
- Avoid tobacco and all substances that can irritate the mucous membranes: when the mucous membranes are irritated, they produce more mucus, and this can block the Eustachian tubes.
- Maintain adequate sinus hygiene.
How To Avoid Problems To Equalize Ear Pressure During The Dive.
- Make up for it before your ear gets bothered.
- Go down slowly and stop if you feel any nuisance.
If equalizing the ear is not possible, ascend a little. Remember, you must warn your partner about your trouble to equalize ear pressure.
- Raise your chin.
Keeping your head up helps by opening up your ear canals.
- Empty the mask.
This action will help you avoid irritating your nasal mucous membranes.
- Choose your hood carefully.
Avoid making the garment too tight it can produce pressure differences. Let the water come in pulling the hood, so there’s room enough between it and your ear.
These are the tricks that our instructors have given us to avoid problems when compensating the ears. Do you have any other tips for us? Share them with us on Facebook.