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Trouble Equilizing One Ear

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bolts

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Hello all,

I recently completed a beginner freediving course headed by Kirk Krack, and while doing some open water dives, I noticed my left ear was having much more difficulty clearing than my right one. The right one would pop clear with no real effort, whereas the left one would squeak and crackle while equilizing, if at all. It would get to a point where I couldn't dive below about 5 meters. I was using the good ol' Valsalva clearing technique, as I haven't quite got a handle on our good friend Frenzel yet... :duh

The divers I was with that day said it may have been the relative coldness of the water (lower teens in Celcius, I believe...) that didn't help. Also, according to my mom, I had several ear infections as a young 'un, which I didn't recall, so maybe it's something physiological?? :head

Keeping in mind this is my first time trying to dive, does anyone have similar experiences and/or advice about overcoming this problem? All advice is welcome!

Cheers!
 

DeepThought

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Specific sulotion:
Tilt your head sideways to the opposite direction of the ear that is giving you trouble while equalizing, that might help (stretching your neck in the side of the problematic ear thuss passively stretching the muscles at the opening of your E-tube).

Long term solution:
This could also come from a faulty equalization, try to equalize more frequently, even every feet, then work to find a more suitable pace. Not to mention mastering the Frenzel....

I hope this is not due to the infections you had in your childhood, good luck.
 

JasonWelbourne

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Slight Ear squeezes caused by tilting your head unconciously during early diving will compound later in the day making it eventually impossible to equalize the affected ear. I used to have problems with this every week. Now due to mastery of frenzel and subsequent more frequent equalization I have no problems with either ear. Before hand, when my ears would get squeezed, after resting for a week when I would go diving again my ears would always be back to normal.
 

bolts

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Thanks for the advice! I'm feeling a bit stuffy and my ears feel a bit blocked, but when I feel a bit better, I'll keep at it.

Just an update...I went to the doctor, and she basically didn't know what I was talking about when I said "equilizing", but was nice enough to try and refer me to an ENT specialist. I'd just like to have it looked at and have a better idea what's going on. I'll be damned if I give up this early! :head I had a blast in the course I took.

One other thing I am going to try is putting small holes in my wetsuit hood to prevent hood squeeze. We'll see how that goes.

Thanks again!
 

Donna

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Before putting holes in your hood, try flushing it before you dive. I had hood squeeze and didn't fancy putting holes in my hood so I now flush it before every dive and, touch wood, it hasn;t squeezed anymore.

Good luck

Donna :)
 

bolts

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Actually, that's what I did on my dives. The water was pretty chilly, and even with cotton balls in my ears to keep them warmer, I think the colder water may not have helped my equilizing issues. :head
 

ApneaBlue

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Originally posted by bolts
Hello all,

I recently completed a beginner freediving course headed by Kirk Krack, and while doing some open water dives, I noticed my left ear was having much more difficulty clearing than my right one. The right one would pop clear with no real effort, whereas the left one would squeak and crackle while equilizing, if at all. It would get to a point where I couldn't dive below about 5 meters. I was using the good ol' Valsalva clearing technique, as I haven't quite got a handle on our good friend Frenzel yet... :duh

The divers I was with that day said it may have been the relative coldness of the water (lower teens in Celcius, I believe...) that didn't help. Also, according to my mom, I had several ear infections as a young 'un, which I didn't recall, so maybe it's something physiological?? :head

Keeping in mind this is my first time trying to dive, does anyone have similar experiences and/or advice about overcoming this problem? All advice is welcome!

Cheers!

I feel your pain...when I started freediving I had (still do at times) the hardest time equalizing. And it would never be one specific ear. it would be left today, right tomorrow.

Something you have to take into effect is your speed of descent. try slowing down your descent a bit and see if it helps. I was alwasy trying to haul butt to the bottom and back and that's the main reason I had trouble. Slow it down and see how it goes.

Next thing. If you are in a head down position and looking towards the bottom this will work against you. Your head should be in relaxed position as if your were sitting at a desk or just walking. This is what descent ropes are for. So you don't have to look towards the bottom...

If you can do these two things then I am sure it will help a bunch. I had to learn that the hard way. So there you go. Merry Christmas :D
 

loopy

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Mate if I can throw in my two cents...

I'm also one of the many many people who had problems equalising when I first started freediving - I spent nearly 10 years playing down to about 6m. My advice to you is this - try as many different methods of equalising as you can (there's about 10 or so that I know of) until you find the one that's right for you. All this valsava/frenzel stuff - the way I equalise is a mixture of about 4 or 5 different techniques, and its the only one I've found that works for me. I've used it with a mouthfill, on negatives, going fast/slow and it works the treat. Look around for a bunch of different techniques and find the one that works for you. Once you've got it, and you're having success using it say in a shallow pool, practice it a lot - when you're driving, when you're at work, when you're watching tv. It shouldn't take too long, given that you're doing it the right way for your body, before you can equalise well enough.
 

bolts

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Quick Update

Just a quick update. I had the opportunity to help out with a competition at a quarry last weekend, and tried some slow pulldowns. Mind you, I had NO weight on so I was like a frickin' cork out there, but anyways... :D

The week in between the clinic and the comp, I used a nasal rinse usually before I went to bed. A neti pot, or, as I used, a turkey baster can be used to flush the nostrils with a solution. The solution I use is 1 cup of warm water, 1/2 tsp each of baking soda and sea salt. Along with that, I'd do as much equilizing as I could, in the car, at my desk, anywhere!

Anyways, I tried the pulldowns and instead of getting only 2 or 3 before ear pain, I got down to about 6 or 7. Don't ask me how deep that was, I have no gauge with me, but I do know 6 pulldowns is deeper than 2. ;)

So over the winter I want to do a few things. First, figure out Frenzel to see if that helps. Second, work on leg strength, as just being out there in the cold quarry water caused my calves to cramp up pretty badly. Third, keep stretchin those damn E-tubes and flush lots with that solution I mentioned earlier.

Thanks again for the tips and encouragement! :)
 

Golfinho

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Ears

Yeah those neti pots clear the sinuses out a treat if used correctly !!

Also if your ears feel blocked maybe they are full of debris especially if you work in a dusty environment like a construction site for example, then you could also consider using hopi ear candles once in a while or the old getting the ears siringed at your local practicioners.

If anybody knows any weblinks to the many different methods of equalising, please post them here.... I'd like to find out more methods as I also have trouble diving headfirst and presume it's a mix of narrow E-tubes, bad technique, head not tucked and just not finding the methods that are right for me yet!
 

loopy

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Golfinho,

The bunch of techniques I saw were from a book shown to me by a good mate, Peter Manns. I think he may have posted on this forum here somewhere if you want to ask him what the book was called, otherwise you should be able to find some of his posts at www.extremespearfishing.com.au
 

Golfinho

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That's interesting loopy, i'll look into it.

So your Perth based, I'll be coming out to Oz next year and keen to find out more on the Oz freedive scene and get in touch with some Aussie freedivers, p.m. me if you can give me the lowdown.

Cheers china.
 

rcerdena

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Hey man!
sorry to hear that you had those ear problems, but now I'm glad that you did better there at the monster!
Hopefully we will be able to train some ''deep'' sessions this winter at the Nepean Sportsplex pool, its not much but at least its something.

Cheers,

Roberto
 
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