Scuba Diving Ear Equalization Basics

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When it comes to diving, whether tank diving or free diving, one of the first problems new divers run into is ear pressure. Unfamiliar with the process of “equalizing,” this sometimes can come as a surprise. Granted, it can be quite the nuisance for beginners and advanced divers alike. Of course, having the right gear makes a world of difference. A good mask (low volume) for deeper dives, a well-purposed set of fins, a weight belt, and a wet suit to match the water temperature, all help a diver feel more comfortable and “at home” in the water. The more comfortable, the more naturally equalization will come. When it comes down to it though, knowing the proper procedures for equalizing is essential. If the proper equalization technique fails to be preformed, serious damage could occur in the ears.

Florida Sportsman member fishingkid315 raises a few questions in regards to equalization, in “Depth and Breathing.”

Here are a few techniques that are very familiar with most divers:

Valsalva Maneuver- Pinch your nostrils closed and blow gently through your nose.

Frenzel Maneuver- Preform a very gentle Valsalva maneuver by breathing against pinched nostrils and swallowing at the same time.

Swallow or Wiggle Your Jaw- While keeping the regulator in your mouth, swallow or wiggle your jaw.

A diver should equalize before they feel pain or discomfort in their ears, and you can never over-equalize. So, when it doubt, don’t hesitate to try your favorite equalization technique!