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How To Equalize Ear Pressure? Have you ever had any problems to equalize ear pressure? Do not worry! You are in the correct blog to solve them.
One of the first lessons of our 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.
1. Why Is It Necessary to Equalize Ears?
Let’s review this basic concept so that we better understand the problems with equalizing ears and the strategies to solve them. Inside the ears are highly sensitive air spaces that are affected by pressure changes. We need to equalize the exterior and interior pressures so that we don’t feel pain, and equalizing the ears is the way to do it. Equalization strategies are based on opening the lower ends of the Eustachian tubes to allow air to enter the middle ear.
2. How To Equalize Ear Pressure? Equalizing Ear Pressure Maneuvers:
There are two types of maneuvers for equalizing ears: equalization maneuvers and pressurization maneuvers. Equalization maneuvers are focused on opening the Eustachian tube to equalize the pressures that affect the middle and outer ear. Examples include yawning, swallowing saliva, tilting the head back and shaking it from side to side, etc.
There are different pressurization maneuvers, but the most well-known and commonly used is the Valsalva maneuver.
2.1. Valsalva Maneuver:
The maneuver consists of closing the air outlets, closing the mouth, pinching the nose, and gently blowing. This way, the air can only go toward the ears. When the diver hears a “pop,” they know they have successfully opened the Eustachian tubes and equalized their ears.
Problems with equalizing ears using the Valsalva maneuver:
- It may not be effective if the Eustachian tubes have already closed due to pressure, as this maneuver does not activate the muscles, it only moves the air.
- It is possible to cause damage to the ear if equalized with too much force.
- It can cause rupture of the eardrum and hearing loss.
But don’t worry, there are other safer techniques that can be used, such as:
Voluntary opening of the Eustachian tubes. To do this, tense the muscles of the palate and throat while pushing the jaw forward and down, as if you were yawning. These muscles will safely open the Eustachian tubes.
2.2. Toynbee Maneuver:
You can also try the Toynbee maneuver, which involves swallowing while pinching your nostrils closed. This will also open the Eustachian tubes.
2.3 Frenzel Maneuver:
Or you can do the Frenzel maneuver to equalize the pressure in your ears. This involves closing your nose and making the sound of the letter “K,” which will compress the air against the Eustachian tubes and open them.
2.4. Lowry’s Ear Pressure Equalizing Maneuver:
You can try Lowry’s technique, which combines the Valsalva maneuver with the Toynbee maneuver, blowing and swallowing at the same time.
2.5. Edmonds’ Ear Pressure Equalizing Maneuver:
Or Edmonds’ ear pressure equalizing maneuver, which involves tensing the palate and throat muscles while pushing the jaw forward and doing the Valsalva maneuver.
Whatever equalizing maneuver you use, the following tips will help you avoid problems when equalizing your ears.
3. 10 Tips to Avoid Problems When Equalizing Ear Pressure
3.1. Prepare To Equalize Your Ears 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.
If you eat gum, the activation of the chewing muscles trains the muscles needed to open your Eustachian tubes. It is good training, and it will be easier to equalize ear pressure when needed.
- 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.
3.2. How To Avoid Problems While Equalizing Ear Pressure During a 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.