Learning to equalize your ears is basic diving skill, and it is important to learn the proper technique for clearing your ears while scuba diving. If you are not able to equalize your ears you risk missing out on a dive, or worse causing pain or injury to your ear.
You will start to feel pressure on your ears as soon as your start your decent and you should remember to equalize your ear before this pressure start to hurt. Equalization increased the pressure inside the ear canal to equal or match the external water pressure. With these 6 tips you will become a master equalizer in no time.
1. Find the technique that works for you
There are a few different methods for equalizing and everyone will have a technique that works best for them. Most people will find that by pinching your nose and gently blowing out the pressure in their ears will equalize. You can also try swallowing in combination with pinching your nose, some people find this technique works best for them.
2. Start to equalize before it hurts
A common problem is that divers wait and start equalizing when they are already too deep. You want to make sure you equalize early and often to avoid discomfort. As you descent, try equalizing every few feet or before you feel pressure in your ear. Some people will need to equalize often while others find they need to equalize less frequently. Find what works for you and stick with it4.
3. Descent slowly with a reference line
If you descend to quickly this can cause pain and discomfort in your ears. Using a reference line to control your descent can help you go slow. New divers find it useful to descend using a line with one hand on a line and one hand on your nose as your descend. If there is no rope at your dive site, keep an eye on your instructor, or the reef to have a visual reference of how quickly you are descending.
4. Check you mask strap
New divers often over-tighten their mask strap, or have the strap covering their ears instead of resting on the crown of the head. Make sure you mask fits properly before you dive, and that it can sit on your face comfortably without having to over-tighten. If you are having trouble equalizing, check if the strap is squishing your ears, and lossen the strap and move it up and above your ears.
5. Try the tilt
If you can clear one ear but your seems blocked, try tilting your head with the blocked ear facing up. If you are having trouble clearing you ear, make sure you are upright and descending feet first. Tilt your head to one side and gently blow against your fingers. The slight pressure difference between the air in your lungs and the air in your ears should help you equalize.
You should make little stops as your descend. Equalizing can be stressful for new divers so it is important to stay calm and if you can’t equalize stop and try again. If you still cant equalize, ascend a few feet and try again. If you are unable to equalize