Wednesday, October 17, 2018
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Question Ears filling with water, very unpleasant sensation

LoisLaine

New Member
Sep 25, 2018
9
0
1
Phoenix
#1
Sorry if this is super obvious but I have a few questions about how to keep my ears free of water, or at least make it so they don't fill completely.

I have never used vented plugs but I've used the silicone putty style plugs for regular laps and I love them, however I was advised NOT to do any sort of diving with them in because they make a strong enough seal they could damage my eardrum. I find that when I swimming in the dive tank doing my training (4m at deepest) If I orient myself truly upside down I lose the very last reserve bubble of air in my ear and water fills in the space with an audible difference. Usually when I first hit the water I've got about three to four bubbles of air that progressively escape my ears during my warm-ups. I can still equalize just fine head down (usually frenzel) but that water filling sensation makes me very uncomfortable, and when I surface I can actually hear the water moving against my eardrum as I move my head. Cue me jumping around with my head cocked sideways like a demented chicken for about 3-5 mins until the water runs out (usually enough to feel running out and down), then the next dive if I descend head down I fill right back up.

Is there any way to mitigate this or is it a sensation/issue I'll just have to learn to deal with?

So far I've been descending on an angle and looking at the bottom of the pool instead of at the wall and that seems to help but then I feel like I'm straining my neck, so it's just replaced the ear issue. I've never had an ear infection in my life and just don't seem to get them somehow but I am worried that if I continue getting so water-logged I might start! Any info or advice is very much appreciated, and if anyone has any tips I'm..... all ears!
*I'll see myself out for that one lol
 

cdavis

Supporter
Supporter
Jan 21, 2003
3,781
652
218
68
Sarasota, Fla
#2
The "demented chicken" thing gets old after a while, been there, done that. Sounds like your ear canal shape promotes water ingress. You might try a different style of descent and see if that makes a difference. Mine fill up readily if I turn over and look up while diving, or doing flip turns during laps or body surfing in big waves, not usually otherwise. If you can't find a position solution, Doc's proplugs have a good reputation among divers who use them.

That you never get ear infections is interesting; neither do I, despite getting a lot of water in my ears. I wonder if ear canal shape has something to do with that. Maybe we have "large" diameter ear canals that dry out easily.
 
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LoisLaine

New Member
Sep 25, 2018
9
0
1
Phoenix
#3
The water filling on flipping or looking up is when it gets me the most! I absolutely love turning over and looking up at the surface of the ater from the bottom of my dive, that sensation is so peaceful and one of my favorite things about diving. The filling is so sudden and almost loud enough that it scares me for a second! Honestly part of me just wants to let them fill during my session and then just use some alcohol drops to dry out when I'm fully done training, any thoughts? I will definitely look into the proplugs the next time I stop in my local shop, thank you!

On another note, does wearing a hooded wetsuit help with this at all? Mine is on it's way but I really don't want to wear it in a pool if I can avoid it.
 

Nathan Vinski

Active Member
Apr 19, 2015
162
96
43
22
Canada
#5
I think you should just get used to having your ears fill up with water. If you ever plan on doing any kind of depth diving this is a must.. Any air trapped in your outer ear will either cause a barotrauma, or just compress and be replaced with water at depths as shallow as 10m.

Yes the hood can keep your ears dry, but this is a big problem for deep diving, Theres even a name for the injury this causes.. 'hood squeeze'. You need to actually fill your ears with water before descending by lifting up the ear-part of you hood before descending.
 
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LoisLaine

New Member
Sep 25, 2018
9
0
1
Phoenix
#6
Thanks for chiming in Nathan!
I am interested in doing depth competitions, and I've heard some people will poke or melt holes in their hoods over their ears so that you don't get flushing but it's enough to allow pressure to exchange.
Have you had any experience modifying an open cell hood?
 

Nathan Vinski

Active Member
Apr 19, 2015
162
96
43
22
Canada
#7
Thanks for chiming in Nathan!
I am interested in doing depth competitions, and I've heard some people will poke or melt holes in their hoods over their ears so that you don't get flushing but it's enough to allow pressure to exchange.
Have you had any experience modifying an open cell hood?
I do have a hole-poked suit. Personally I find it unreliable if I descend quickly and sometimes I need to open my hood at 10-15m

When the holes are ligned up and everything is working there is no immediate flush of water, but It still gets in your ear at some point, as water is the only thing available to replace the compressing air volume.
 
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LoisLaine

New Member
Sep 25, 2018
9
0
1
Phoenix
#8
I see what you mean, honestly I'm not all that worried because my face and neck are pretty tolerant of water temperature changes so the flushing isn't the paramount concern. Is there anything special you did when you were modifying your suit? I've never worked with open cell neoprene before. My suit should get here in a few days/weeks (fingers hugely crossed) and I'll be taking it to Belize to dive the barrier reef out there.
 

Nathan Vinski

Active Member
Apr 19, 2015
162
96
43
22
Canada
#9
I see what you mean, honestly I'm not all that worried because my face and neck are pretty tolerant of water temperature changes so the flushing isn't the paramount concern. Is there anything special you did when you were modifying your suit? I've never worked with open cell neoprene before. My suit should get here in a few days/weeks (fingers hugely crossed) and I'll be taking it to Belize to dive the barrier reef out there.
to poke the holes you should;
1) put suit on and use a pen or a marker to mark the spot above your ear canal
2) obviously lol.. Take off the suit before poking holes
3) use a red-hot needle (a thick sewing needle for sewing thin leather is a good diameter) to poke 2 or 3 holes around the pen mark you made

** the needles need to be very hot to melt the neoprene and nylon.. This prevents it from tearing and spreading in the future.. You don't need to stretch the hood out when poking the holes either..
 
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LoisLaine

New Member
Sep 25, 2018
9
0
1
Phoenix
#10
That sounds like exactly what I was thinking, but I'm glad I checked. Thank you for the tips, my suit should arrive this Saturday!! :woot:

Thankfully since I've modified some dance costumes and things like that I'm familiar with melting materials to stop them unraveling.