Wednesday, March 20, 2019
  • Welcome to the Forums, the largest online community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing. To gain full access to the Forums you must register for a free account. As a registered member you will be able to:

    • Join over 40,000+ fellow diving enthusiasts from around the world on this forum
    • Participate in and browse from over 496,000+ posts.
    • Communicate privately with other divers from around the world.
    • Post your own photos or view from 7,300+ user submitted images.
    • All this and much more...

    You can gain access to all this absolutely free when you register for an account, so sign up today!

forced equalization and middle ear barotrauma Help!

Ali Elkady

New Member
May 2, 2018
Cairo, Egypt
Hello fellow freedivers,
I started freediving a few months ago and i recently finished my AIDA 2 certification and i started to find myself interested in deep line diving. I am still a beginner though in that matter, my maximum depth was 20 meters, before that i have only dived to 16 meters wich wasn't very smooth in terms of equalization and this was during my AIDA 2 course. Then my next dive was about one month later and i was able to reach 20m and i could have continued to go deeper but the equalization failure stopped me and that's when i wanted to go deeper but one of my wars didnt equalize and i felt some pain and pressure so i forced the equalization and went deeper those couple of meters. I came up okay but after i came out of water i started to feel pressure in my ears and slight pain. I felt i shouldnt dive next day but i didnt listen to my intuition and i did dive a few 15m dives and thats when again i forced an equalization butto the other ear. Then on my way back home a long ride above the mountains i could feel my ears doing crazy popping sounds and hurting me and my hearing was muffed with the change in pressure up the road. Since then and my ears feels stuffed and my sinuses too are hurting me not just my ears. I did some research and i think what happened to me is "middle ear barotrauma" i took an antiinflamatory, decongestant drops, steroid drops through my nose to try and drain the built up fluids, congestion and inflamation but it doesnt seem to be working. Long story short, I wanna ask expert freedivers here is this common among freedivers? Do u think it happened to me because i didnt take my time to adapt my body to the new depth? And is it serious or it is common and nothing to worry about? My buggest concern is my freediving being affected or that i cant dive deep anymore!
Anyway, I will give my body its time to recover and ill take it easy next times with depth progression and will never force an equalization again!
If any of you guys have a similar condition or can give me tips i'd really appreciate it.
Thank u guys and sorry for the long post :)


Well-Known Member
Mar 9, 2005
Anchorage, AK
It isn't common, but it does happen. Have you been to a specialist to have it looked at?
As a kid I always had problems clearing until I spent every day for 5 weeks in the water during a marine ecology class in 1976, mostly freediving. The regular diving, without pushing it too hard worked wonders.
I also am totally deaf in one ear. I started it in 1973 by diving when my ears wouldn't clear. I lost partial hearing from that. In 2008 during a very unremarkable dive I did more damage. I wasn't able to hear clearly, but thought it was just water in my ear. It didn't get better, and turned out that I was totally deaf in that ear.
There are plenty of others with stories of divers with ringing in their ears and partial loss of hearing, although most did less damage than I did.