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Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Rasta Freediver
Mar 4, 2004
Hey, i was wondering when you're supposed to start equalizing, when your ears start feeling cloudy, or when they become slightly painful. Whenever i'm equalizing, i do it right after it starts stinging, but i was wondering if i could just do it on the way down as well instead of going through the pain. Thanks
Early & Often. You should always equalize long before you feel any pain.
Always before you feel pain. Try to descend slower its easier to compensate this way. Good trick is to equalise at the surface 3-4 times in succession right before you dive. Dont take your hand off your nose just keep equalising on your way down blowing air slowly and building up the pressure in your ears. Keep your elbow tucked in so that the wrist of the equalising hand is almost perpendicular to your chin. Since you are using the Valsalva technique (pinching nose) be careful not to blow air too hard. Increase the pressure progressively so its always the least amount of air required to equalize. This will keep strain off your eardrums and your heart.

Eric great frenzel guide. Once again I am amazed at the knowledge readily available in these threads.
I'd like to jump in on this one and ask some more if I can.........

I have no problem equalising on dry land - very light pressure required to clear my ears, HOWEVER, as soon as I dive I'm having major problems. I just got back from a week in Cyprus where I could not equalise underwater while descending. Occasionally, if I flipped upright I could clear then continue but generally it just wouldn't happen. I ended up so frustrated and blowing so hard I had a couple of nose bleeds...finally I just cleared on the surface and managed to glide to 16m without any further clearing before pain put the final brake on (and I really paid the price the next day - stupid!). I always made sure my sinuses were clear before going down.

What variants of valsalva are there that might be more effective....er.......well let's just say effective full stop!!
Scuby, I just had the same problem as you,
and after taken care of just a few things, my equalizing improved a lot

a) pre-equalize you ears in your last/s inhale
b) Be sure there's no air trapped between your hood and your head. Open you hood to let water in if necesary. Careful if water is too cold
c) Dont look down on descent. i.e: Keep your head aligned with your body in your fall through water. Looking at the sea bottom narrows your ear passages.
d) Push your chin near your chest. This will open your ear channels a bit
e) Go with frenzel instead of Valsalva. Push the air from your mouth to your ears with your tongue acting like a piston Checkout Eric's link.

Hope that helps... It worked for me to go from 6-7 meters to 16. My problem was: I didn't preequalize and my head looked down on descent. Keep it straigth!!

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I don't get how people can dive 500 ft. without their eardrums exploding...... mine are giving me trouble.
I practice erics method and then hold it open for ten seconds.
It makes a simple pop seem as natural as breathing, and I guess it is.
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