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Question I cant equalize the preassure

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Anderson66

New Member
Jul 18, 2020
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Hi, I'm 24 years old. I really want to freedive at 10-15 meters, just occasionaly. But I can't. After 2-3 meters I fell big pain in my ears. I'm really trying to equalize since 1 meter underwater. I have tried a lot of methods (the most - blow in my nose). Nothing help. I can hold my breath for 4:21 (laying on the bed) but underwater I can stay for just 40 seconds becouse all my energy goes to equalize the preassure. I'm diving very slowly (sometimes with rope - 1 meter for 6-7 seconds (still trying to equalize)). I am very flustrated watching on YT beginner freedivers who can dive to 15 meters with smile on their face.. What can I do more?

i can add that when I swim to the surface (from 5 meters) I feel pain in my ears too.
 

DivingNomad

Active Member
Sep 21, 2015
205
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What method do you use to equalize your ears? Also, are you able to equalize on the surface?

Have you had any ENT issues during childhood/teenage years at all?
 

Anderson66

New Member
Jul 18, 2020
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Valsalva Maneuver. What do you mind "equalize on the surface"? When I blow air and pinch my nose on the surface then Just nothing happens... And what is ent issues?
 

Leander

Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2017
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ENT trauma is any damage to your Ear/Nose/Throat. That includes your sinusses and eustachian tubes.

There are different equalisation methods. Valsalva is the most known, where you use the lung muscles to force air to your nose, which you pinch so the air gets redirected to your ears through the eustachian tubes.

Another method is the Frenzel. Here you block your throat at the glottis and use your tongue to press the air in your mouth to the nose, which you pinch to redirect the air. Adam Stern has a very good video on this technique on YouTube [click]. For some it takes a lot of practice, while others nail it on the first try. This technique makes equalising easier and works deeper as well.

With equalising at the surface he meant to just equalise your ears while you're not in the water, like in right now as you read this. If it takes so much force that it feels like your eyes are popping out of your skull, then that can be regarded as 'no'. Equalising should be possible without too much resistance.

If you feel like your airways, especially around the nose, are congested then this might make equalising more difficult or even impossible. Hence why you should never dive when you have a cold. There are techniques to help clearing the nasal passage, sinuses and to a certain extent the eustachian tubes as well. Saline-flushing is one possible method.

Whatever you do, don't try to ignore the pain. If you can't equalise and you still continue deeper you'll eventually end up with ruptured eardrums. You'll have no need for equalisation from that point on, but you'll also be deaf. Don't want that. :)
 
Jun 26, 2017
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I am in a similar situation as you. When I was young, I equalized without even trying, but as I age, it is becoming more difficult. I have been able to compensate to some extent using the following techniques:
I have learned much from this book (one thing is that most freedivers use the frenzel technique, whether they know it or not. When I was young I simply used valsalva and it worked, but it doesn't work anymore).
Amazon product I have learned a great deal by watching Adam Freediver's videos on equalization
Before I dive, I either use Afrin, a nasal decongestant, or pseudoephedrine, a decongestant, to ensure my e-tubes are decongested.
Above all, go slow, never force it and little by little you should make progress and find what works for you.
 
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Leander

Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2017
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Before I dive, I either use Afrin, a nasal decongestant, or pseudoephedrine, a decongestant, to ensure my e-tubes are decongested.
Are there risks to this? I once read that it can make your airways produce more mucus, which you then have to counter with more decongestants, ad infinitum. But I never bothered to do a fact check as the only decongestant I use is some seawater seeping into my sinusses when I dive without mask. Perhaps you can tell from experience.
 
Jun 26, 2017
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Are there risks to this? I once read that it can make your airways produce more mucus, which you then have to counter with more decongestants, ad infinitum. But I never bothered to do a fact check as the only decongestant I use is some seawater seeping into my sinusses when I dive without mask. Perhaps you can tell from experience.
I feel there is a slight risk at having any meds in your body when you are breathholding. The ENT doctor agrees but thinks it is very slight. I keep this in mind and never push the limits. I never stay more than 2min and don't go very deep because I always dive alone.
 

dcvf

Member
Aug 15, 2015
83
22
23
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Hi Anderson66

Take medication before diving (n) +1 with Scott Valentine
I suggest this procedure
  1. before doing Valsalsa … blow your nose
  2. does it work in the air, do you hear the ‘pop’ in each ear by practicing Valsalva ?
  3. before the duck dive or at the rope do a Valsalva to pre-compensate your mask
  4. at least before 1,5m do a valslava each 2 sec during your descent.
  5. at 3 or 4 m stop and go back to the surface and there …blow your nose again
  6. stop the descent if pain in your ears … and consul a physician
  7. try to dive below 5m and always pre-compensate your mask at the surface …and before 1,5m …and each 2 sec during your descent.
Something that can help you is the ‘OTOVENT’…on sale at your pharmacist


Can you try that and report us the result
 

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
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There is good information above. I suggest getting checked by your GP first, to make sure you don't have blocked, infected or inflamed eustachian tubes, or some other medical condition (nasal polyps, hayfever or other pollenosis perhaps).

If you don't have a medical condition, then maybe you are producing a lot of mucus - in which case get rid excess mucus somehow, see earlier posts, or stop diving till it clears.

If it's none of the above, then perhaps you are blowing too hard? I often equalize by swallowing or waggling my jaw these days, it seems to open up the eustachian tubes. As does pushing my palette up. These are much gentler techniques buy they don't always work, esp. if there is a lot of mucus around. Experiment on land first, see if it helps.

The suggestion to equalize at the surface immediately before diving is good. I started doing this recently. It helps open things up, gives you a clear baseline/starting point and helps remind you the equalize during the dive and at the bottom.
 

DiveHacker

Active Member
Jun 17, 2020
118
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If you can't equalize with valsalva at the surface at 24 years old, stop everything you are doing. Go a saline nasal flush bottle and some salt and maybe some eukalyptus oil.

Do saline nasal flushes twice a day. Tons of youjtube videos from docs on how to do it properly. I make my own saline water by boiling it for five minutes and adding salt. All you need is one of those saline bottles.

Same day, even right after the first saline rinse, boil a pot of water, maybe put a drop of eukalyptus in there, and put a towell over your head and inhale the steam for ten minutes.

I saw all that stuff in an Adam freediver video as someone mentioned, and it worked wonder for me. Try grabbing some ginger too and make ginger tea. Can't hurt.

My theory is that after you do all the above stuff, it cleans your nasal cavities out so well. Not only did I equalize easier, but i did not produce these absurd amounts of snot and mucous when diving either. In fact, for the first time ever i noticed none at all. I think all the dust and crap in your nasal cavities acts as a substrate for mucous to cling onto while diving. Maybe since it is not there it does not have this chance?
 
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weaveratsea

New Member
May 31, 2020
2
1
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71
Use a nasal decongestant. This is a vasoconstrictor which causes your tissue to contract, thus your passages open up. I use Iliadin (South Africa). Do NOT take flu tabs, as these also have other drugs which can make you drowsy, very dangerous when freediving. Do NOT drink any citrus juice or dairy product before, as these are both mucous formers. No chocolate as well. Also, go onto DAN South Africa website. There is a good guide to guide on how to open up your passages.
 

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
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I find going for a run good for clearing out excess mucus.

The sinus flushing described above is worth considering. I know somebody with serious ENT problems, and flushing the sinuses with an essentially saline solution (she used plastic ampules of solution originally) was part of her post-operative treatment. She uses a NeilMed nozzled plastic squeeze bottle and sachets now:

Amazon product
Alternatively, Nasal flushing is a yoga practice. There are special Neti ceramic pots with spouts, like squat mini-teapots, designed for the purpose:
how-to-use-a-neti-pot.jpg

https://www.ekhartyoga.com/articles/practice/how-to-use-a-neti-pot

At the risk of being controversial, I find anti-inflammatories useful, esp. ibuprofen (warning: some asthmatics are dangerously allergic to NSAIDs like ibuprofen). There are preparations that comprise ibuprofen and pseudoephedrine, mentioned by somebody above. Sudafed was recommended to me by my GP some years ago after a CAT(?) scan showed inflamed sinuses:

https://www.sudafed.co.uk/about-us/active-ingredients
(Looks like they put everything they could think of in it, including the proverbial kitchen sink. I reckon that should do the trick!)

Although I found ibuprofen alone was sufficient for me. I have some concerns about the long term effects of pseudoephedrine and it is a banned substance for many competitive sports. I believe it is a stimulant, so not great for apnea perhaps.


Those with hayfever or other pollenosis might benefit from antihistamines. I noticed that a popular seasickness tablet is an antihistamine - so perhaps that might do double-duty for some sufferers?

 
Last edited:

OldCrow

Active Member
Feb 13, 2014
1
0
36
71
Hi, I'm 24 years old. I really want to freedive at 10-15 meters, just occasionaly. But I can't. After 2-3 meters I fell big pain in my ears. I'm really trying to equalize since 1 meter underwater. I have tried a lot of methods (the most - blow in my nose). Nothing help. I can hold my breath for 4:21 (laying on the bed) but underwater I can stay for just 40 seconds becouse all my energy goes to equalize the preassure. I'm diving very slowly (sometimes with rope - 1 meter for 6-7 seconds (still trying to equalize)). I am very flustrated watching on YT beginner freedivers who can dive to 15 meters with smile on their face.. What can I do more?

i can add that when I swim to the surface (from 5 meters) I feel pain in my ears too.
I learned later in life (60) years old at that time how to clear my ears. As explained to me by a pro scuba diver, if you wait until your ears begin to hurt you have waited to long and you will only make it worse. Sitting in your chair as you read this, pinch your nose closed and blow through your plugged nose until you hear or feel the pressure in the ears. So, that very mild sensation is all your after when you dive. The trick is when you descend as soon as you feel any slight pressure in the ear that is when you pinch your nose and blow very gently until you feel the release of pressure to the ears. It's very easy to do and you will be elated to know you can continue your decent pain free. As you do so you will probably need to repeat the process. You I'll make 30 meters no sweat ... Pain free ... welcome to the other half of world.
 
Jun 26, 2017
15
3
18
60
Hi Anderson66

Take medication before diving (n) +1 with Scott Valentine
I suggest this procedure
  1. before doing Valsalsa … blow your nose
  2. does it work in the air, do you hear the ‘pop’ in each ear by practicing Valsalva ?
  3. before the duck dive or at the rope do a Valsalva to pre-compensate your mask
  4. at least before 1,5m do a valslava each 2 sec during your descent.
  5. at 3 or 4 m stop and go back to the surface and there …blow your nose again
  6. stop the descent if pain in your ears … and consul a physician
  7. try to dive below 5m and always pre-compensate your mask at the surface …and before 1,5m …and each 2 sec during your descent.
Something that can help you is the ‘OTOVENT’…on sale at your pharmacist


Can you try that and report us the result
Thanks for filling in all the details I missed, and for the Otovent link. I will try that.
 

DiveHacker

Active Member
Jun 17, 2020
118
70
33
47
I think maybe his big problem is he is just trying to go too fast and stressing out. He mentioned others being able to do things he can't, that probably has his mind a bit in a twist as he performs this.

Just let all that go. Relish in going slowly at your own pace.

Head up equalize, do the nasal saline and vapor. If you are head up equalizing well, do that for a while I would say. If you stop being able to equalize head down and you don't have tons of mucous then you will just have to start playing with making adjustments as you equalize, like wiggling your jaw. There is a good post by E Fattah somewhere I read a while back where he advises to use those same muscles you use to equalize when you are in a plane to equalize. Simultaneous. I think he was talking about people with small ETubes, which could in fact be your problem. What that will do is as you equalize you will be loosening your etubes. Should really help if you can get it.
 
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