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Peer Advice on Hands Free Equalization

C

Cechols

New Member
Oct 1, 2021
5
1
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Hi, I recently took a freediving course and i was able to make it to 30 ft and no further. I'm trying to learn different methods of equalization so my ears won't hurt so i can progress further. I am currently looking at hands free equalization and i need some advice to see if im doing it right so what im doing is i have the front part of my tounge touching the roof of my mouth and the back of the tounge is pressing back/downward and im pushing the back-roof of my mouth (the soft palate) up and just alternating with the tounge. this causes me to create something like yawns at will, and eventually i feel my ears move. Is this correct? Does anybody that can do hands-free equalization confirm or deny with advice to help me out? Thanks so much!
 
erixsparhawk

erixsparhawk

Member
Apr 17, 2021
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I'm not sure how much this will help you, but when I do a hands free equalization the position of my tongue doesn't matter and my ears don't move. (I can wiggle them a little with the help of a mirror :) ) Hands free does feel a bit like yawning.
I come from a lifetime of swimming / scuba / snorkel and before taking a freediving class had never thought about equalization. I never needed to squeeze my nose while doing these activities. However, I immediately found that I wasn't able to hands free with my head pointed down!
Since then I have done regular hands free practice slowly switching my position from horizontal to angled down to straight down. The next problem I ran into was that I could only do heads down hands free very slowly. I practiced pulling my self down the rope faster and faster until I could hands free at normal finning speed for constant weight. Then I realized I could only go 10m deep before my hands free stopped working. So for all my safety dives I would do hands free to meet my buddy. Now I can go 20-25m hands free at speed and then I switch to normal frenzel with hand on nose.
Things I've noticed of note:
I can only do hands free for the first 45-60 min of a dive session then it just doesn't work for me anymore.
Hands free never pops the ears and there always seems to be a little pressure like I'm always a little behind on my equalization. This is noted by stopping decent and continuing to handsfree equalize and nothing more happens, then you plug your nose and frenzel or valsava and you get the pop and no pressure.
I think I occasionally pump my larynx to do the hands free. Like at the surface / first few feet of the dive. Then I feel like I switch to a continuous pressure equalization until I get to 20m where I start larynx pumping again. (maybe) Honestly I have a hard time telling what I'm doing most of the time.
I'm no expert and I get stuck at 42m with lots of air in my cheeks and unable to use it.
Good luck!
 
7BDiver

7BDiver

Active Member
Sep 5, 2019
180
66
43
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Here is an article available online describing how to BTV equalize that I found helpful: http://www.freedivinginstructors.com/article/204
What I found helpful is to raise my ears a little and lower my jaw to stretch the eustacion tubes. From there I will flex the muscles behind my tonsils so they move inwards as I they are trying to pinch them together stretching the tubes enough to open. Some people merely just move their jaw down or down and forward. Another method to stretch the muscles connected to the eustacion tubes it do move the muscle inder your jaw connecting at the throat down. This will be like imitating a frog ribbiiting. It really helps having the face relaxed and only move the muscles required letting the tongue rest. Figure out what motion works for your anatomy and practice it repeatedly a lot, hundreds of times per day, and you will soon learn how to move muscles in your throat and neck that you didn't know could be controlled before.
 
C

Cechols

New Member
Oct 1, 2021
5
1
3
20
Here is an article available online describing how to BTV equalize that I found helpful: http://www.freedivinginstructors.com/article/204
What I found helpful is to raise my ears a little and lower my jaw to stretch the eustacion tubes. From there I will flex the muscles behind my tonsils so they move inwards as I they are trying to pinch them together stretching the tubes enough to open. Some people merely just move their jaw down or down and forward. Another method to stretch the muscles connected to the eustacion tubes it do move the muscle inder your jaw connecting at the throat down. This will be like imitating a frog ribbiiting. It really helps having the face relaxed and only move the muscles required letting the tongue rest. Figure out what motion works for your anatomy and practice it repeatedly a lot, hundreds of times per day, and you will soon learn how to move muscles in your throat and neck that you didn't know could be controlled before.
Thanks for the help! I've been trying to understand it and now I'm doing it to where I'm closing my throat and pressing the back of my tongue to the back roof of my mouth at the same time then releasing them both and repeat. Whats happening is the first few times my ears don't pop but then after a few tries it does. Is this supposed to happen that way or are the ears supposed to immediately pop the first time you do the movements?
 
7BDiver

7BDiver

Active Member
Sep 5, 2019
180
66
43
34
It will take time to strengthen the muscles used for opening the eustachian tubes and improve their plasticity, the more you repeat the exercise the more likely it will work the first attempt. I would suggest trying to open your tubes with as little as possible or no use of the tongue as it will not be as efficient, practicing with your tongue forward may help isolate the proper muscles to use. Over time I noticed that my eustachian tube flexibility improved enough that my ears are popping often and unintentionally throughout the day. Additionally be sure to stretch the eustachian tubes by tilting your head on each side to help loosen them up for practice and diving.
 
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