Ear problems turn away many people from scuba diving. The complex mechanisms that govern the ear system and balance are vulnerable to problems especially where rapid pressure change is experienced. Luckily, there are equalizing techniques that avert these ear problems and guarantee a better diving experience.
Ear pain during diving is caused by pressure balancing issues between the outer world and the innermost part of your ear. Improper pressure balance leads to painful ear barotraumas, which will force you suspend your dive. The secret to safe scuba diving is ensuring the closed Eustachian tubes through a conscious act. Here are some diverse techniques to equalize in order to enjoy your dive:
- Valsava manouver: The most common technique, which entails pinching the noose and gently blowing air into the Eustachian tubes. Avoid blowing too much lest you ruin the inner ear.
- Frenzel technique: Entails pinching your nose and making the sound of letter ‘k’/ ‘ng’. This contracts throat muscles and forces the Eustachian tubes to clear.
- Voluntary tube opening: You should tense your throat and push the jaw forward. It is similar to yawning with your mouth closed and the result is tensing and stretching of muscles to force the Eustachian tubes open.
- Tonybee maneuver: It involves pinching the nose and swallowing at the same time to open the Eustachian tubes by compressing air against them.
- Lowry technique: This is a combination of Tonybee and valsava. You should close your nostril, blow and at the same time swallow. While this maneuver is tricky with a regulator in the mouth, it is considered one of the most effective.
- Edmonds technique: This technique stretches the muscles around the Eustachian tubes forcing them to open. It involved pinching the nose and blowing while pushing your jaw forward. It is more effective when used in combination with Valsava.
- Head tilting: Move your head from side to side while using other equalizing techniques. By tilting the head, you will stretch the folds around the Eustachian tubes making it easier for the other techniques to help open them up.
While these techniques have been found to be effective, there might be underlying problems that are messing with your ears. These include dehydration and smoking, which can block your ears. Dairy products and additives also lead to ear clearing woes and should be avoided. Nasal irrigation is a great way of dealing with ear clearing issues and should be used together with other equalizing techniques.