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lt.dan58
05-04-2009, 17:45
So im new to diving and I encountered a new experience to my ears called pressure... in a plane and car at high elevations i just swallow or chew gum... underwater i cant chew gum and swallowing dosent do anything... the first day was horrible i almost threw in the towel but i stuck it out and the next day it was better... not great but better... ive been told that if you take an Afrin type product it helps; ear drops; or just dive more often it helps.... is there any truth to these rumors?

DMWiz
05-04-2009, 18:06
I don't recommend taking anything to help you equalize, although many people do it. As you begin to dive more your eustachian tubes will begin to "clear" easier so just keep diving.

Begin to clear before you enter the water and do it often, before you feel the need to clear your ears.
If you can't equalize ascend a bit and try again and never do it forcefully.
Proper technique and regularity will do it every time.

Bob-B
05-04-2009, 18:23
Most of the time I can drop like a rock and have no trouble with clearing my ears. But....... sometimes they can give me fits.

Most of the time I try to clear while I am still on the boat, or above water. Then again after I am under a few feet. Once I get past about 20 feet than I can clear with no trouble by just blowing a little pressure into my mask. That helps my ears and also keeps the mask comfortable on my face.

When I have trouble it is usually near the surface. If you can't get it to clear, you don't want to go any deeper. Most of the time I can just stop or raise up a little and can get my ears to "Pop"

You should always be careful with any medication you take and dive with. I know that some decongestants will raise your heart rate, and Blood pressure as will as clearing your sinus.

As I take medication to help keep my Blood Pressure under control, I am aware of this, but you might want to talk to your Doctor and ask him.

Of course there is also the "Divers Alert Network" that can supply a great deal of information


Hmmmm I wonder if using a Nettie pot would help with the sinus?


Good luck with your ears

lt.dan58
05-04-2009, 18:27
Thanks will take all of that in to consideration

Splitlip
05-04-2009, 19:15
practice practice practice the Valsalva technique on dry land. Often. Just be careful and proceed slowly if it is difficult for you. Do it now, tonight, tomorrow and so on....

FoxHound
05-04-2009, 21:23
you've got some good advise already and im just gonna add to what has already been mentioned.

While decending, go slowly, there is no rush to get to the bottom as that will only compound the problem. If you force yourself to get deep with a lot of pressure on you ears you may do some damage to your ears. I have troubles clearing my right ear all the time. All i have to do is plug my nose and try to breathe out my nose. I do this before the pressure really starts building up and i do it as often as possible as i decend. Again if you cant equalize, go up a few feet and try again.

The trick is to take it slow, i had one person that was paired with me just after his open water checkouts was right gun-ho wanted to get to the bottom and see everything and swim as fast as possible to get there. At 30 ft after a very fast decend he pointed to his ears and i knew exactally what was wrong, we went back to the surface, had a chat about taking things nice and slowly and sure enough when we went back down he had no problems at all.

Again like what was said by everyone else, take it good and slow, be sure you are ready to go deeper and dont force it.

lespaulsf
05-05-2009, 08:40
practice practice practice the Valsalva technique on dry land. Often. Just be careful and proceed slowly if it is difficult for you. Do it now, tonight, tomorrow and so on....

I'm a new diver also. What is the Valsalva technique?

IndyDiver
05-05-2009, 08:48
practice practice practice the Valsalva technique on dry land. Often. Just be careful and proceed slowly if it is difficult for you. Do it now, tonight, tomorrow and so on....

I'm a new diver also. What is the Valsalva technique?

Pinch your nose closed and blow GENTLY to force pressure into your middle ear.

wgt
05-05-2009, 08:53
A Valsalva maneuver (or its variants) drive compressed higher-pressure gas from the throat into the middle ear via the Eustachian tubes to equalize the pressure across the tympanic membrane (ear drum), which separates the middle and outer ears. The Valsalva maneuver itself involves the attempt to blow air out through the nose while the nostrils are pinched. Unable to escape through the nose, the gas is forced into the Eustachian tube.

A very good video link was posted some time ago by a board member from Washington State. I'll try to dig it up, unless somebody else is faster on the draw.




practice practice practice the Valsalva technique on dry land. Often. Just be careful and proceed slowly if it is difficult for you. Do it now, tonight, tomorrow and so on....

I'm a new diver also. What is the Valsalva technique?

wgt
05-05-2009, 09:31
Here is the link to the video that I mentioned above. The link was originally posted by WaScubaDude.

Doc's Diving Medicine Home Page (http://faculty.washington.edu/ekay/)

lespaulsf
05-05-2009, 13:08
Thanks I will check it out. I already blow with my nose while pinched. But sometimes it doesn't work the best. I have found so far that if I have trouble clearing a ear I can tilt my head with the problem ear toward the surface and blow it will normally clear. Why is it the more dives a person does in succession makes it more difficult to clear.

lt.dan58
05-05-2009, 17:24
well after watching the videos and reading about the symptoms it appears i have blood or fluid in my middle ear... guess i have to make an appointment to confirm that... luckily i have 2 weeks til my next dive

Vlane
05-06-2009, 00:42
I too have problems equalizing my ears. My first few checkout dives it was pretty bad even after i would try ascending. I eventually got them to equalize and after that i didn't have a problem as i changed depths. I just have to make a conscious effort to constantly equalize the first 20-30 feet or so.

lt.dan58
05-06-2009, 22:14
I too have problems equalizing my ears. My first few checkout dives it was pretty bad even after i would try ascending. I eventually got them to equalize and after that i didn't have a problem as i changed depths. I just have to make a conscious effort to constantly equalize the first 20-30 feet or so.

so are you saying after the first 20-30 feet it is easier to equalize?

Splitlip
05-07-2009, 06:02
Remember from your open water. The first 33 ft (2ATA) is the greatest relative pressure change on the divers and potential for barotroma.

Vlane
05-07-2009, 13:23
I too have problems equalizing my ears. My first few checkout dives it was pretty bad even after i would try ascending. I eventually got them to equalize and after that i didn't have a problem as i changed depths. I just have to make a conscious effort to constantly equalize the first 20-30 feet or so.

so are you saying after the first 20-30 feet it is easier to equalize?
Yea, the first 20-30 feet is always the hardest for me. I really have to make sure i equalize a lot as i go descend or else it gets pretty painful. After that, however, it's easy and i just use the jaw or nose trick. After awhile i'm sure it'll become a second nature to me and it won't be a big deal, just takes practice i guess.

lt.dan58
05-07-2009, 20:50
Remember from your open water. The first 33 ft (2ATA) is the greatest relative pressure change on the divers and potential for barotroma.
i completed the classroom and pool portion but they never mentioned that... thanks though that makes me feel a lot better... i do my OW dive on the 16/17th

tk trekers
05-09-2009, 07:23
My son had problems with this to the point he couldn't continue one of our confined water dives.

He has seasonal allergies so we made sure that he was taking his allergy medication on a regular schedule and the biggest thing for him was to go extremely slow and equalize every 12" to 18" when we did our OW dives. We had a very good, patient instructor that helped him control his descents. They used the line and came down very slowly and the instructor would not let my son put his hand below his on the line as the descended. On the 4th OW dive he didn't use the line but kept a good slow descent rate and had no problems.

After getting down to the platform at about 20' he has no problems, it's just the first 15' or so but by going slow and just continuing to equalize he overcomes it.

boates
05-09-2009, 15:37
all the above. This is really common with new divers, don't despair! I had real troubles at first, my right ear still can be a problem. I was told to equalize on every exhale doing a very slow descent, sometimes I have to see saw down (drop 2 or 3' rise 1' to equalize), once I hit 3o' I would be fine. Also I use swimmers ear drops:smiley20: after every dive the 1st 2 days, then before and after every dive the remainder of my trip. You can also wiggle your jaw (sideways) while, and in between equalizing. This also helps you avoid clamping down on the reg. Good idea to get your ears checked in the meantime. Happy diving:smiley2:

Okc_diver
05-09-2009, 22:06
Anyone use docs proplugs? If so are they good would you recommend them? I have no problem equalizing but sometimes it feels like there is water still in my ears after the dive is over. My instructor suggested using a capfull of alcohol in the ears.

Coastie6
05-10-2009, 19:41
LT, had lots of problems when I first started diving. Actually ended up with a perforated ear drum during one of my first OW dives. Hate to admit it but I did use sprays like Afrin for a while after that. Would not do it now, it wasn't "recommended" even then, but there wasn't a lot of data on it's effects and I was young, foolish and bulletproof. 30-years later I will reinforce what has been suggested practice the Valsalva technique, go slow descending and ascending (don't let a buddy rush you, that's how I got my ear injury), concentrate on clearing until you reach depth, then enjoy a wonderful lifelong sport.

lt.dan58
05-11-2009, 18:19
LT, had lots of problems when I first started diving. Actually ended up with a perforated ear drum during one of my first OW dives. Hate to admit it but I did use sprays like Afrin for a while after that. Would not do it now, it wasn't "recommended" even then, but there wasn't a lot of data on it's effects and I was young, foolish and bulletproof. 30-years later I will reinforce what has been suggested practice the Valsalva technique, go slow descending and ascending (don't let a buddy rush you, that's how I got my ear injury), concentrate on clearing until you reach depth, then enjoy a wonderful lifelong sport.
good to know was thinking about using it this weekend... i will just take my time and hopefully that will help

lt.dan58
05-18-2009, 21:47
well just to update my equalization issues.... they are gone!!! i equalized before i submerged and continued equalizing every breath i took... i had no problems decending... thanks for all the help
Dan

FoxHound
05-19-2009, 08:09
beauty, glad its working out for ya now !