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No hands equalisation.

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.

Can you equalise hands free?

  • No, I wish!! :(

    Votes: 101 55.5%
  • Only at shallow water. :cool:

    Votes: 51 28.0%
  • Only at deep water. :cool:

    Votes: 3 1.6%
  • I'm a supreme being! 5 meters or 200 meters, ofcourse I can. :king

    Votes: 27 14.8%

  • Total voters
    182
Z

zipy

New Member
Nov 19, 2002
129
19
0
41
Hi

I have a question...
i can equalise quite easily with just moving my jaw.. the problem is when i practise static and i have full lungs laying on my bed it gets almoust imposible to open my tubes without pinching my nose :confused:
any thoughts, ideas?


Jure
 
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unirdna

unirdna

tropical wuss
Sep 16, 2002
1,016
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Jure,

I can't explain it, but I can say that something similar happens to me. For whatever reason, after taking my final/huge breath, it can be a little tricky for me to equalize for the first 10m. Past that, it gets quite easy, and much more comfortable. From what I do know about the workings of the inner ear, I would think that equalizing hands-free would be aided by higher air pressue in the lungs, not inhibited :confused:.

Ted
 
Brian Hamilton

Brian Hamilton

Subsea Sniper
Jun 15, 2003
54
7
0
45
I have been able to equalize handsfree as soon as I began freediving. I have been doing this for years as I have a problem with my eustachian tubes and have over time instinctively done this to clear my ears.

It used to be very annoying but since I began using it to equalize underwater I realized how fortunate I am. I just move the muscles at the rear of my jaw and my ears pop, no matter what the depth. I find it hard to explain how to do it.

Cheers.
 
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A

ARDEN

New Member
Aug 14, 2003
13
6
0
I agree it is hard to explain. When I do it I flex muscles at the very back of the roof of my mouth just behind my molars. I too had eustachian porblems as a child that made me clear my ears often.
 
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donmoore

donmoore

New Member
Aug 19, 2002
958
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What you are doing when equalizing hand free, is flexing your tensor palatini and levator palatini muscles. The only good picture of the tensor palatine muscle I have seen was at an ear specialist office. It actually wraps around the eustachian for the lower length of it. The Eustachian tube normally is closed in the lower 1/3 of its length. One of its functions is to open and allow air into the middle ear, to increase the pressure in middle ear to that of the outer ear (ear drum in the middle). The tube them closes to hold the increase air volume and pressure in the middle ear.

On your ascent the increase pressure from the middle ear is usually all that is needed to open the Eustachian tubes to let air out of the middle ear and into the thorax. The idea that it would be great to have your Eustachian tubes open all the time is a myth. This happens to some people and it is called PET. I forgot what the letters stands for, but it’s a problem that really messes up some people’s lives. The main symptom is hearings one breath in the ears. Also holding them open for a whole length of a descent is not good either, because you can over inflate your middle ear and put to much pressure on the eardrum. The best is quick and short equalizations. That way any excess air pressure will bleed out the Eustachian tube quickly and the ear will quickly equalized.

Scuba diving has two big advantages to hand free equalization. First is that the diver is usually not inverted (makes a big difference for some people). The second is that a scuba regulator, regulates the air pressure in the breathing cavities to the ambient pressure on the out side of the eardrum. All you have to do is open the eushachian tube for a split second and presto, they’re equalized!

Now in freediving, you get less than ambient, or negative pressure in the breathing cavities when at depth. This is why at extreme depths diver’s lungs actually fill with fluid and blood. This is also why it’s much harder to equalize hands free in freediving. It becomes harder and harder to push air into the eushachian tubes and middle ear without holding the nose and doing a frenzel or other technique.

I learned all this stuff by, well frankly I had too. I had a bad inverted equalization problem, although I had no problem upright and could even do it hand free. I researched it for months and purchased and practiced on an inversion machine. It took me about 8 months to master and I still have to practice twice a week. The moment I think I have it, I will have problems again.

For me the trick was to learn to flex the muscles and open the tubes before I put any air pressure on them. Any air pressure first, and they wouldn’t open when I was inverted. I learned to flex the muscles by employing the theory that if a muscle flexes, even if not by its self (firing muscle tissue) it still send signals to the brain that it is moving and you can learn that feeling and use it to learn to flex the muscle. Basic physical therapy stuff. You know were they retrain someone to use their muscles by manually moving it for them at first?

To do this I stood in front of the mirror and did the Frenzel technique several times, really concentrating on the feeling around the tubes open. Then I kept decreasing the pressure. If I lost the feeling I increased the pressure to regain it. In a few days I was able to fire the muscles and open them without any pressure. Then for inversion it was a quick mater of learning to fire and immediately pressure.

For what its worth, that’s my story. Oh I have found that packing will allow me to equalize hand free a little further down, but for me its like what jvoets said. It takes more time than just pinching the nose and going down fast. Although if I thought it was possible for me to learn to equalize hand free well enough to descend at top speed, I would certainly work on it.
don
 
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iceselkie

iceselkie

where did the summer go?
Jun 27, 2003
507
112
133
46
My husband can do it. I watch & try to learn-- then my eyes get squinty. I'm jealous. I do the closed mouth yawn thing, but can't get myself to yawn voluntarily.
 
unirdna

unirdna

tropical wuss
Sep 16, 2002
1,016
220
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Ice,

It's not the 'yawning' that opens the tubes. It's after the 'yawn' that they pop. If you're keeping 'tension' on your neck, they probably won't go. It's the split second after you release the tension that the eq takes place. Practice doing that yawn technique in front of the mirror. If your doing it right, your adams apple should be pulled up. If it' not, try doing the same technique, only this time, with your tongue smashed to the top of your mouth. Now, right when you relax the muscles that are making the rumbling sound, thrust your tongue backward into your soft pallate. At this time, your adams apple will drop back to its original position, and your ears should have [simultaneously] produced a cracking sound.

If you want to simulate a dive. Pinch your nose, and suck in, until you de-equalize your ears (making the pressure lower within your eustation tubes). Then practice equalizing. Using this, you'll know for sure if your going to get it underwater. Don't do it too much though, or it can make ya dizzy with a headache.

Ted

*edit: After a second read, I realize that my words may have been more confusing than helpful. It's tricky to describe how to do something you (me), yourself (myself), don't fully understand :confused:. I'll work on the wording....
 
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J

Jeff06

New Member
Aug 26, 2003
69
10
0
50
Hello!

Unirdna, the "simulation" that you explained works fine for me but I am almost enable to equalize hand free under the water :hmm

I'm going on training hard my muscles (palatini ones), and maybe it will work underwater soon!

A few exercices in order to facilitate free hand equalizing (in french, sorry):

http://csm.appa.free.fr/dossiers/apnee_compensation.php

@+
Jeff
 
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nVy

New Member
Apr 15, 2004
6
1
0
38
I get some strange knittering sound when I try to equalize hand free on the dry land, is this right? I'm doing a motion with my adam apple and my tounge down in my throut while I press the muscles above the jaw a bit up.. I've been doing this since I was 3-4 playing with the nasal sounds.. am I on the right track? Haven't tested this under water though, prolly testing it tomorrow... :)
 
roy_nexus_6

roy_nexus_6

Well-Known Member
Aug 28, 2003
368
50
118
DeepThought and Gerald

Thanks guys for asking a good question and the helpfull reply.

Like DeepThought I have a problem equalizing without pinching my nose. Just tried Geralds technique of maintinaing a slight positeve pressure in the mask and it WORKED.


Thanks guys.:)
 
Y

Yeti

Guest
Nvy, that sounds familiar. Ted, mind if I have a go?

I’ve always found equalising hands free as an almost intuitive response (which I guess it is really, if you look at how many times you must do it subconsciously) and tried in vain to explain the technique to plenty of people but it’s not something I can quite put my finger on either. Some would say lucky, but like you guys say, trying to put your finger on it is equally frustrating, but I’ll have a go too!

I guess the best people to explain their understandings of the technique are always those who have learnt and trained how to do it!

THIS SHOULD AT NO POINT CAUSE ANY DISCOMFORT so if it does, stop!

Like you guys suggest, I’ve also found it a good training exercise. It involves creating a slight negative pressure in the ear (internally) to simulate preferably a dive, but what you might feel in an aeroplane from time to time. It is intended to be very gentle without the complications of using submersion to experiment, and is merely an attempt to stimulate the muscles involved so you can feel them.

I’ll try and explain how I simulate it. It is the same as suggested really but sometimes different descriptions hit the mark for different people.

If you can equalise ‘pinching’ then this is just the reverse in principle to start with;

Instead of creating positive pressure in your mouth throat, by whatever means you use, ‘pinch’ and VERY GENTLY draw the tongue down or pretend you are sucking on a very thick milkshake. This should cause a slight negative pressure in the ears. I find it is indicated by sound getting very fuzzy, almost like that confusing sound effect swimming pools seem to create, with high pitch noises becoming more significant (my computer fan suddenly becomes much noiseier whilst other sounds are deadened).

THIS SHOULD AT NO POINT CAUSE ANY DISCOMFORT so if it does, stop!

Once this negative pressure is created I find it will generally stick just enough to hold and you can let go with the ‘pinch’.

What this then enables you to do is try all of the different movements, jaw, muscular, whichever, but the important thing is you can now work at isolating the miniscule, as that is all it takes, exact stimulus that allows you to clear the ears. Bingo!

The ears can at any point be cleared very easily by the method normally used.

I really do not know the physical implications or effects of doing this long term or for prolonged periods, so please, either wait for other opinions or use a bit of common sense and go steady.

(Ted, I’ve never had a headache from it. How long do you do it for?)

I have been doing this, initially out of curiosity before diving, for years and seem to have had no problems, and can now create a (again, SLIGHT) negative pressure lock with just a quick sniff as there is enough resistance created breathing in through my nose as long as I don’t flair my nostrils as I do it.

Who knows, it may work for some!?!

Failing that you could practice on the real stuff and use it as an excuse to eat loads of milkshakes!! :D
 
tylerz

tylerz

Well-Known Member
Jun 19, 2002
733
114
133
I hands free equalize and have done so since I was 10 or so, when I accidentally discovered I could do this to rid the pain while going to the bottom of a pool. However, it also recently occured to me, thanks to Anneko, that I have been opening my Eustacian tubes purposefully since before then, but had no clue what it was I was doing. I used to refer to it as "clicking my ears". I could also move my ears I discovered and over time learned to do that more so. I associated the two because often I would hear the clicking when I moved my ears.

The other day Anneko asked to place her ear against mine while I opened my tubes. I had asked somebody once before if they could hear me doing so but not believing they would, I did so at a distance. With Anneko's ear pressed against my own, she could hear the exact sound I was hearing every time I opened them. Hope this does not become a public tendency of freedivers... we may get a wierd public image. ;) She even can hear it in a quiet room if I am a half-foot, or so, away from her.

So how can that help people trying to equalize? I am not sure yet, but you could listen to your buddy to hear if they are successful without having to dive. Maybe a recorder would even pick it up, or you could set up a microphone to play it through a stereo. ;) Lots of fun for the whole family.

Anyhow, maybe most people hear this "clicking", gritty, crumpling bag, kinda sound. So if you hear something like that in your head you are probably doing it. But it should be loud and very close to your ears as opposed to the throat or nasal area.
 
tylerz

tylerz

Well-Known Member
Jun 19, 2002
733
114
133
Another thing that I would think to share is that all of us who drive through mountains as well equalize. And I noticed that people who are not good at equalizing, do not grab their nose and blow as they are driving, to assist with equalizing. This leads me to believe that many people already have the ability to equalize hands free if they are relaxed and not trying. As soon as you try however, you could be causing the muscles to tense up and close the eustacian tubes as opposed to contracting and opening the tube. This shows the need to find the conscious control of this muscle and cause it to contract. But first to do so it may require doing attempts to equalize by relaxing and not trying to equalize. ;) Then learning from the sensation as to gaining control of the same muscle that moved during automatic equalizing.

So, you may be expelling energy to the correct muscle with no success of equalizing and feeling hopelessly far from finding the muscle, because you are sending the muscle the wrong signal.
 
tylerz

tylerz

Well-Known Member
Jun 19, 2002
733
114
133
Any equalizers out there who can equalize further than residual volume but at some general depth suddenly (or used to) find they have extreme difficulty equalizing, this being your limitation? That is you are already doing mouthfill techniques but still run into this problem?

Cheers,

Tyler
 
S

sublimished

the white whale
May 2, 2004
50
4
0
Today I was practicing in the pool with my mask and can now say I can equalize without hands - at least till 10 or 12 feet :p. I just do frenzel with the mask and I think it is using the masks pressure to cause the air back into my ears like someone mentioned earlier.
 
S

sublimished

the white whale
May 2, 2004
50
4
0
But I dont know how deep I can do this - it seems so simple that instead of pinching my nose the mask is acting to block any air from coming out and pushing it back in.

Are some of you saying you could equalize hands free without a mask?
 
unirdna

unirdna

tropical wuss
Sep 16, 2002
1,016
220
153
48
(Ted, I’ve never had a headache from it. How long do you do it for?)

Ohhhh, during a two-hour movie in the theatre ;) (got bored - popcorn was gone before the promos were done).

Sublimish,

I can equalize hands-free, without a mask.....but at the cost of a bunch of water going up my nose. The eustacian tubes 'pull' in whatever air is near. With a mask, the only air it can pull is the stuff from your lungs. Without a mask, it will pull it from your nose as well. And...when that air is pulled in, it pulls the outside water along with it.

So when I screw around without a mask, I need to use a hand to equalize hand-free ;).
 
S

sublimished

the white whale
May 2, 2004
50
4
0
Yea I see what your saying haha

I could probably do it without a mask too but eventually the water would just go all the way up my nose and I'd have to stop . I'll have to try it next time
 
N

naiad

Apnea Carp
Supporter
Oct 11, 2003
2,897
449
138
41
I am learning to equalise hands free, and it seems to be working in the pool. I have never done depths, but hopefully it will work when I do. The reason I need to equalise this way is because the Valsalva (normal) method doesn't work at all for me, whether dry or in the pool, and I haven't managed to learn the Frenzel.

Yesterday I practised in the pool - I ended up with everything full of water, but it worked!!!

Lucia
 
The111

The111

Shallow Water Whiteout
May 29, 2004
155
29
118
Originally posted by Yeti
Like you guys suggest, I’ve also found it a good training exercise. It involves creating a slight negative pressure in the ear (internally) to simulate preferably a dive, but what you might feel in an aeroplane from time to time. It is intended to be very gentle without the complications of using submersion to experiment, and is merely an attempt to stimulate the muscles involved so you can feel them.

I’ll try and explain how I simulate it. It is the same as suggested really but sometimes different descriptions hit the mark for different people.

If you can equalise ‘pinching’ then this is just the reverse in principle to start with;

Instead of creating positive pressure in your mouth throat, by whatever means you use, ‘pinch’ and VERY GENTLY draw the tongue down or pretend you are sucking on a very thick milkshake. This should cause a slight negative pressure in the ears. I find it is indicated by sound getting very fuzzy, almost like that confusing sound effect swimming pools seem to create, with high pitch noises becoming more significant (my computer fan suddenly becomes much noiseier whilst other sounds are deadened).

Heh, that's exactly the same thing I described in this thread. Although I don't use my tongue or anything "external" body parts. I simply clear hands-free (not sure how to describe it, but nothing moves except the things inside my ears) and then breathe in really hard through my nose. That causes the feeling that they've gone inside out and I get the thing you referred to where everything is now quiet, and I have to "equalize" to fix it back to normal. Believe it or not, I've done this at loud concerts where I didn't have earplugs, and left it like that for an hour. It builds up a small headache though and when you finally clear it, it's a great relief.

I never thought of doing it for "practice" for equalizing though, since I've never had problems with that.

Regarding hands-free equalization while diving - I have noticed I can do "discrete" equalizations (every 10 feet or so, pressure builds up each time), or I can simply move the "equalizing muscle" in my ear (for lack of a better word) and leave it "flexed", so that I am CONSTANTLY equalized throughout the whole dive (pressure never builds up). I like that way better now. Anyone else do this?
 
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