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DZorn00
09-13-2007, 09:27
So, I had my first closed pool dive in my class. At the end of the class our instructor gave us around 30 min. to just mess around and swim. I could not go any lower than 9 ft and then My ears felt like they were going to explode!:smiley11:. I did the equalization steps constantly, ascended and tried again and again. I did this the entire time ( I got with my instructor and rested for a few moments) Then finally I got to go to 12'. I am not congested nor do I feel a cold coming on. Any Suggestions???????? I have my open water dives in a week and I will die if I can't go:smiley28: now that I have gotten to experience under water life in a pool.:fit_old:

fire diver
09-13-2007, 09:54
Can you perform the valsalva maneuver? If you can "equaloze" you ears while on dry land, you should be able to do it under water too. Each person is different. You may have to equalize every foot on you way down. Once you get "too deep" for your ears, you won't be able to equalize with coming back up first.

You may just have to play with it and see what works for you. Also, you may have some sinus / ear blockage without realizing it until it's time to equalize.

ScubaToys Larry
09-13-2007, 10:03
If that was your first pool session... don't start worrying yet! I've seen that a lot, that because you are concentrating on learning all kinds of new stuff, you equalize late, or too much... whatever... and stress out your ears a bit. Before the next time in the pool, chew about 3 or 4 pieces of gum at once for a while, (loosens up the Eustachian tubes) and just take it easy.

Report back and let us know how it goes!

dallasdivergirl
09-13-2007, 10:03
This is a practice thing for some people like me & you. I have to equalize on some overpasses while driving. Practice on dry land as much as you can and equalize every foot while descending.

DZorn00
09-13-2007, 10:12
First what is the valsalva maneuver? I do have to equalize while driving around and even sometimes while swimming in the water. You are right though I was trying to descend slowly with my BC and keep my feet down, and equalize and the hardest thing of all remember to breathe. Thanks all for the advice please keep it coming.

ScubaToys Larry
09-13-2007, 10:22
First what is the valsalva maneuver?


That's a very sophisticated term for blowing your nose! It's the pinch and lightly blow thing you do to equalize. Named after the doctor that figured that out.

BobbyWombat
09-13-2007, 10:52
My doc is a diver and I'll pass on what he told me when I got my diving physical. I had the same problem and was really worried that ear problems were going to make diving a no-go for me at first.

He asked if my ears had trouble adjusting after flying...if your ears are OK a few hours after flying, then there is likely nothing medically of concern that would keep you from diving (as far as equalization goes). If your ears are still adjusting a day later, then you may need a doctor to take a closer look.

I agree w/ what others have said. Assuming you can fly w/o serious pain and your ears adjust within a few hours from landing, then it is probably just a matter of practice and experience to get things right.

Here is my advice, at least what has helped me:
1. Equalize early and often. Start before your head even goes underwater.
1b. Practice - at school, at work, in the car....stretch out those eustachian tubes.
2. HYDRATE!!! Drink lots of water. This helps things stay open.
3. Take it slow.
4. Sometimes it helps if I swallow....this is another method to equalize. Dry mouth makes this harder....see #2 above.

Other things to consider down the road:
1. Check out Doc's Pro Plugs. They are cheap, and lot's of people swear by them.
2. Some people take a decongestant. You should consult what Diver's Alert Network (DAN) www.diversalertnetwork.org (http://www.diversalertnetwork.org) has to say about this and consider what you feel comfortable doing very carefully.

-BW

RonFrank
09-13-2007, 10:56
Before the next time in the pool, chew about 3 or 4 pieces of gum at once for a while, (loosens up the Eustachian tubes) and just take it easy.


Gum, that's a new one! :smiley20: I bet it works, or helps....

So do you recommend a blow pop, or Double bubble? Do tell! :smiley2:

RonFrank
09-13-2007, 11:06
I equalize before I'm on a boat, on the shore, or in the water. If I can't do it out of the water, I don't get in (never has happened). On a dive day, I generally clear when I wake up! :smiley1:

Different approaches work for different folks. Some can just wiggle their jaw, but by far most use the pinch your nose and blow method. If you use the valsalva maneuver, make sure you don't over do it. You can damage your ears by blowing too hard. I would hope your instructor has gone over this.

I'm not sure I've EVER met an active diver that did not have ear issues at one time or another. So don't worry about this yet, you've done ONE pool session. I've also read that you can exercise you tubes by clearing topside on a regular basis. I live at 9000', and work at 5280' so my ears are always getting a workout. But you don't have to live at altitude to clear, just do it a few times a day to keep those ears LOOSE! :smiley36:

wxboy911
09-13-2007, 11:55
I do a lot of hydrating before the dive and I use Doc's pro plugs. The plugs were cheap and made getting past 30 feet a lot easier.

DZorn00
09-13-2007, 18:01
I have heard of Doc's pro plugs, what about the reverse-squeeze with the plugs in or do you take them out when you get down??? i guess I am a little anxious to do a dive and am trying to tell my self to relax but I think we all probably know how hard that is...

divingmedic
09-13-2007, 18:45
Also being in the pool, getting chlorinated water up your nose can cause your sinuses to swell up some. I usually take some Mucinex every day for three days before doing any serious diving.

medicdiver
09-13-2007, 19:00
A few days prior to diving I will practice equalizing. Normally I won't have any problems when the weekend comes. I do like the chewing gum method. I would try that also.

BobbyWombat
09-14-2007, 12:55
I have heard of Doc's pro plugs, what about the reverse-squeeze with the plugs in or do you take them out when you get down??? i guess I am a little anxious to do a dive and am trying to tell my self to relax but I think we all probably know how hard that is...


The diving style plugs are vented (tiny hole to let the pressure through). So there are no squeeze issues. Regular ear plugs without this vent would be dangerous.

The Pro Plugs stay in the entire dive. My buddy says he can't hear as well with them in (they are ear plugs, after all), but no real down-side beyond that (and this is a very minor down-side).

Up side is they supposedly help you equalize, and help w/ water in the ear and keep your eardrum protected when diving in cold water. All this for only like $12.

Jeez, listen to me. I should make a commission from these guys.

-BW

tremtech
09-14-2007, 13:02
Here is some DAN info on several ways to clear http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/medical/articles/article.asp?articleid=13 Good luck on you first real dives

diverdad
09-14-2007, 13:09
a friend of mine said his wife has the problem. what she does is that she chews gum before and during the dive. i don't know how safe that is but it might help.

DZorn00
09-15-2007, 09:59
Here is some DAN info on several ways to clear http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/medical/articles/article.asp?articleid=13 Good luck on you first real dives

Thanks for the link that has some great info on my situation. I get to do another dive Monday but I am going in (before the football games) tomorrow to practice at my LDS..... Thanks again for the help..

lucidblue
09-15-2007, 12:23
I have to equalize when driving too. I have to equalize a lot while diving. I equalize before my head goes under water and then with every breath on the descent. Seems to help a lot. Another diver told me that the first 12 ft or so are the hardest as far as equalizing.

I like the Mucinex idea for a few days before diving too.

So I didn't realize you could loosen up the Eustachian tubes. Are there other ways to loosen them up, besides gum chewing? I have TMJ and try to chew gum as little as possible.

DZorn00
09-19-2007, 06:25
THANK YOU EVERYONE:smiley32:. I was able to go a whole 16ft deep on my second closed dive. I practiced everyday on my way to work and way home. When I got in the water i cleared and before my head went under I cleared. I can't clear my ears TO much can I? I don't do it hard just enough to get them to clear then it is all good.....Thank ya'll again...

Fireplug
03-18-2008, 19:26
I have heard of some people having positional tubes. It supposedly helps straighten your tubes out by looking up, stretching your neck up versus having your chin tucked down and thus your tubes not as open. I read it somewhere and it seems to help me.

MicahEW
03-19-2008, 10:10
If that was your first pool session... don't start worrying yet! I've seen that a lot, that because you are concentrating on learning all kinds of new stuff, you equalize late, or too much... whatever... and stress out your ears a bit. Before the next time in the pool, chew about 3 or 4 pieces of gum at once for a while, (loosens up the Eustachian tubes) and just take it easy.

Report back and let us know how it goes!

This is a must try for me I have som trouble equalizing sometimes.
thanks larry

BH0873
04-18-2009, 18:52
Has anyone tried the chewing gum thing, does it help. I have issues equalizing myself and working on them to make it easier

John Henry
04-19-2009, 09:24
I am a Naval Flight Officer, so I have a lot of experience with the Valsalva. But I also have sensitive ears. I was worried about diving, as even a 5 ft swimming pool causes pain.

Took my class this week, had no problems in the pool. On Saturday's dives, we did 2 dives with an SI at sea, then came in to shore to change tanks. On the 2nd dive, I couldnt clear at 20 feet. Went back to the surface, got it worked out, and then back down to 40. Was pretty worried about it going back out for the third dive, but it was fine.

It is usually my right ear which gets hung up, and in the water, I find it often helps to nod my hed to the left to stretch the right side of my neck.

Left ear is almost always clear as soon as my fingers touch my nose, right ear takes a little manipulation, and often gives the long slow weeeaaasssee!!

Tully Mars
04-20-2009, 05:44
Chewing gum has never helped me at all. Oddly enough I find I having a soft, custom molded mouth piece help keep my ears clear.

calwolf
04-20-2009, 09:29
There's an absolutely amazing video online that teaches just about everything you'd ever want to know about diving and ear equalization. It's an hour long, but totally worth watching for anyone with questions or concerns about equalization. Find it here:

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

gee
04-20-2009, 19:51
I didn't see any one give an answer to your question but, maybe it's because everyone but me realize it's rhetorical! I think you're on the right track. Equalize early and often and, as I'm sure you know now, follow the advice of the links and you'll be fine.
THANK YOU EVERYONE:smiley32:. I was able to go a whole 16ft deep on my second closed dive. I practiced everyday on my way to work and way home. When I got in the water i cleared and before my head went under I cleared. I can't clear my ears TO much can I? I don't do it hard just enough to get them to clear then it is all good.....Thank ya'll again...

iowan4huskers
07-04-2009, 15:56
Are you diving with a hood? When I do, I need to flood the hood as I descend which helps drastically. Even during the dive sometimes.