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Cannot equalize head down?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Jul 14, 2002
I've been dreaming of freediving for sometimes. I finally found a club and just started... I love it.
Everything works fine except if diving vertically head down. In that case I cannot equalize my ears at all (I'm stuck at 2M). If i'm a little bit off the vertical it works fine. I can reach my 10 meters easily without any ear pressure problem if I go down along a rope head up.
It does not seem related to position of my head as I practised with head perfectly in line with body.
Is anyone aware of similar case? Is there any technique that can help? Or should I just give up?
never give up

i have heard of other peolpe with a similar problem, the issue isnt that you cant equalize head down, its simply that its easier to equalize heads up (because the pressure at your feet is greater, so head is in the lowest pressure of your body)

a few questions...
how often do you equalize>? you should equalize every meter, or even half meter if your ears are really sticky

do you pre pressure your ear slightly at the surface, before going down>?

what method are you using to equalize>? valsalva or another, if you cant create enough pressure with your current methode, try the frenzel-fattah

good luck,

and never give up
Reply to thin_air

First, thank you for replying to my message.

I equalize every two meters (head up) because it does not pose any problem and I don't feel the need to do more. I'll take your advice and try every half metre.

I do not pressure my ears before diving as not aware of this possibility. I'll try too.

My technique is quite basic; pinch the nose and blow my ears:)

Where can I learn about frenzel-fattah ?

Thanks again,

forgive my lack of hospitality,
eddy, welcome to deeper blue, enjoy yourself here no-one is to evil
feel free to tell us more about yourself in your profile, this is a friendly place so dont worry...

next time you go out to dive, try to pinch your nose and blow(valsalva technique) at the surface, you will feel your ears "pop" keep the pressure in your ears and try to decend head down, while keeping your nose plugged and blowing, if this doesnt work, im out of ideas

hope this helps,
also, try not to look up (down ) to much.
I dont know the anatomy to well, but it seems to me like looking up ( down towards the bottom )stretches the eustasian tubes or something, so try to keep yor neck as straight as possible and your chin down

I used to look towards the bottom all the time and equalizing got really hard after 15m. after learning this, all of a sudden I can easily equalize down to 30m ( my PB ) and still feel like I have some air left to go deeper with... :)

take care, have fun

your eustachian tubes are flexible and can become more flexible with time. the advice you've received above is good. one more thing you can do is practice equalizing even when not diving. this will help to make those eustachian tubes a little more stretchy and less sticky. just pinch and blow during your day. get in the habit while at work, watching tv, shoping, etc. start with 10 in a day and gradually move up (otherwise you could experience a little soreness). i used to work in grand cayman and just from diving on a regular basis i had one ear that i never had to worry about other than swallowing and the other i still had to equalize, but it was really easy. now if i know i'm going to be in the water a lot and haven't been for a while, i start i week ahead of time and equalize to get my ears 'loosened up'.

hope this helps! good luck.

Tried it yesterday

Thanks to all again for the advices.

I went to dive with my teatcher yesterday... he is going mad with my case...He is actually thinking of putting me in a museum:D

I trained for the whole week, learn the Frenzel (very efficient..), and equalized before diving,etc.. did not change much except on one dive it equalized head down (there is hope).

The weird thing is the feeling that nothing happen. You stay head down try to equalize and... nothing!!

My teacher has tried all the tricks in the book... It's actually quite funny, I have the feeling I'm training for a circus rather than diving.
I dive head down, Stop, turn (head up), equalize, turn (head down), and keep on diving.:duh

Well I just have this feeling it's going to unlock at some time.

Does the body improve it's resistance or ability to cope with pressure with practice?
Hi Eddy, you might try this : just before you dive, fill your mouth with air as per eric Fattah's technique, closing your throat so as to isolate the air available for equalising....now (very important) start equalising at the surface, and maintain enough pressure that the tubes stay open as you dive. Do not stop....the air in your mouth can take you very deep if there is enough in there.
This way, you only do 1 equalisation over the whole descent. It's worth a try :)
Erik Y.
ps:I have discovered this week (in the warm waters of the Red Sea) that I can equalise hands free below 6 metres :)
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