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clearing the ears without pinching the nose

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
May 28, 2002

Does anyone have any explanations or exercises in order to perform BTV (béance tubaire volontaire in french) or "clearing the ears without pinching" (sorry but I do not know the name in English!!!).

I really enjoy monofin for dynamic apnea but I need both arms over my head to get the good movement.
For constant ballast, when I pinch my nose, this is disturbing my movement and I can't relax very well as I do in dynamic. The only good sensations I have is when turning back to surface.

Thanks for your advices.

I can explain how to "determine" you are performing the maneuver correctly, but I am unable to explain how to do it. Some things are simple to do, but difficult to explain, such as tying ones shoes. I have only done this "pinchless" techique to just under 100', but I am hoping when in deeper water it will still work. I could not perform this last summer, and firmly believe that reducing/eliminating simple,processed, or refined sugars from the diet has played a great part. Especially the day of and the day before a dive.

There is a muscle in the back of my throat that I flex or tighten, and it causes a "clicking" sound in both ears. This click only occurs upon opening and not relaxing/closing. By inhaling/exhaling very quickly through the nose only, with the mouth closed, will cause a significantly louder sound of air in the ears, and what feels like a flexing of the eardrums in and out when inhaling/exhaling. If you do not have this pneumatic continuity established, the sound of the air in and out of you nose will be detected externally instead of internally through your head. There will be no "wobble" sound or eardrum flexing either. This method I describe is only a means of detecting you have opened the passageway to your ears/nose, and is done with no mask on. However, while descending, I feel the mask squeeze go away when opening this airway. You may find a useful way of using this mask squeeze as a means of determining you have established the pneumatic connection.

I am sorry if this was not very helpful, but it is the only way I can describe if you have done it, not how to do it. Just flex throat muscles until you hear the "wobble".

Good luck and let us know when you get it.


Jim :)
Dear J.Mols

This may help You: it has worked for me for decades:
It takes a few careful tries until You get the feeling.
Starting from the surface going down, I allow a little pressure to build up in my mask very carefully. While I compensate my mask, moving my jaw a little bit, I take advantage of the pressurized air that is partly escaping into my tubes (moving of the jaws facilitates the opening of the tubes). If You can equalize very easy by pinching Your nose You should not have any problems with the "mask-technique". As I continue to equalize, the mask is kept away from squeezing my face and at the same time the tube is acting like a valve, opening up at every blow into the mask.
The connection between mouth and lungs (epiglotis) should be shut while You do it. This technique as helped me to go -30m/plus in unassisted constant ballast, and added a lot of joy in freediving. However I am limited to a maximum of -40mt that way (with the last equalization around -36mt). For maximum dives I have to resort to the newly acquired frenzel/fattah method, please see also my answer to blue mar concerning equalization techniques, thread name: "problems equalizing", on the same page with Your thread
Last edited:

test to see if this finally works for me - real reply to come
Look mum, no hands!

(Sorry about test - was having trouble B4.)

I have written my method a few times on the FDL and it has helped some people get this technique. Hopefully it is some use to others. As said above, it is hard to explain so please do not laugh!

Firstly, you need to start small with this and it will get easier with time.

Secondly, the hands free equalisation (for me) allows a small amount of air to eqaualise at a time, so it is necessary to do it more frequently than frenzel etc. Pre-equalise before leaving the surface with a valsalva, and start after a couple of metres. Try and keep on top of the equalisations otherwise if you go too far without equalising it may not work and you will have to use valsalva or frenzel until you have caught up.

My approach is simple... imagine there is a golf ball sitting at at the back of your throat, more or less sitting on top of your epliglotis (I know it sounds silly, just do it!). Then try and 'stretch' your throat around that golf ball, to give it more room so you can jiggle it around. This should give you that 'clicking' sound. Practise that alot, all day long. Your throat will tense up, but as you get more comfortable with it, you can move just the muscle that triggers the clicking sound.

Next, go to a pool and try doing the same movement. It helps, as other have said, to slide your jaw forward also, although when you are well practised this also becomes less necessary.

Then try it on some quiet slow dives. The more you do it the easier it becomes. I initially tried it and it did not work much because I was used to doing larger and less frequent equalisations, but then I worked on developing it and it is getting better all the time, so I now only have to resort to other techniques when I get a bit blocked up.

I have found this method is not very effective below about 24m.

Hope this helps

I managed to do so in my sofa and I will see if it works this week-end in open water.
I have two movements that seem to click in th ears : when pushing the tong on the soft palate while beginning a swallowing movement and when I put my tong very deep and back in my throat (Max) and swallowing slowly.

You told this type of compensation is not efficient below 30 m but I already go to 35 (100 ft) with the valsalva or frenzel without any problem (still lot of air in the lungs). If I perform it very well, will it be possible to go deeper without pinching. Is there anybody able to go deeper than 50 m (150 ft) with this hands-free technique.

PS If you have any other idea tell me.
what kind of feets are u using? 150 feet would be 45 meters in my ocean.. :p
I too have trouble equalising and was wondering if anyone else can do the ear clicking thing by moving the muscles in the back of the neck by being upright but are unable like me to do it head down.

...Why is this?


I have managed to go beyond 50m hands-free (52m:D ) So it is possible, though I've heard that a French diver goes over 80m without pinching his nose.

so I've still got plenty of room to improve:duh

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