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Wet Equalisation

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Deeper Blue Hypoxyphiliac
Oct 24, 2002
This is probably going straight to you Eric, but how do you equalise with water (ie wet eq)? How dangerous is this? Is it something you need to build up to? Finally, if you've had problems with equalising in the past, is it even at all possible?

Thanks for your help,

Water Equalizing

There was an old myth that water equalizing simply involved taking off the nose clip 'down deep'. I also developed a wet technique that involves flooding the mouth to reduce dead space. However, while doing either of those things may help, neither is the true 'water' equalizing techique.

In the true water equalizing technique, the inner ear itself (i.e. eustachian tube) is flooded with water, by doing repetitive shallow dives with flooded sinuses, and equalizing over and over with flooded sinuses. Slowly the water displaces the air in the ears. There is always a danger of infection and swelling.

If the tubes are completely filled with H2O, then equalizing is no longer necessary. More often, the tubes become partially filled, which makes equalizing less frequent (sometimes much less frequent -- in this case, sometimes the diver goes down to 60m before the first equalization).

This an ADVANCED technique, and several divers have nearly drowned while trying it (even Alejandro Ravelo nearly drowned, so don't take it lightly).

So this is for INFORMATIONAL purposes only, and do not attempt it!

If you have problems equalizing, I don't think this is the answer. It is probably impossible in cold water due to the swelling it would cause.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
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I always suspected that water equalising practitioners did it within the first few meters of a descent.
Why would a diver that was prepared to water equalise wait till depth after pumping plenty air into the airspaces to get there ?

I always thought it would be better to get it over with sooner.

As for priming the eustachean tubes with water before diving.. thats a new one for me and it makes some sense , if you can keep it in, in between warm - up dives.

OK, I'm not intending to try this, just wondering as to how it actually works... I get how to flood your sinus' (too many somersaults in the pool without a noseclip :D), but (and this is prolly a stupid question) how do they get the water out afterwards?
Also, would the eardrum be able to pass on the vibrations properly if the inner ear is filled with water?

In other words, if you use wet eq., are you deaf until you've emptied the inner ear after the dive?
Hearing is seriously impaired until the ears are emptied.

The ears are emptied the same way they are filled; by repetitive equalizing and de-equalizing, except with air. I suppose also that tilting the head and moving the jaw may cause some water to spill out. However, the ears cannot be instantly emptied; more often than not some water will remain for many hours afterwards, further increasing the chance of infection.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
I've wanted to learn more about this to understand the processes involved - not that I could use wet equalisation since I dive in cold fresh water :(. (The mouth version would work though I guess- I understand that method.)
Is it not critical to keep the soft palate shut to prevent water from passing down into the upper throat, especially when in a head up position? If the nasal cavity and sinuses are full (or nearly full) of water then it must surely be very important to keep the soft palate closed - presumably for the entire duration of the dive. Any relaxation of the soft palate would mean that water leaks down into the back of the mouth and throat. This sounds difficult to deal with and not something I would like to try in a hurry!
The method of allowing water to trickle into through the nose to reduce the dead air space sounds much less risky to me, but perhaps not as effective.

Water equalization... how to get teh water away from your ears.. I have filled my ears with water once, not when diving, but just to try previously mentioned technique.. I hated it, I can tell you that it feels really creepy when water drips in to your ears.. I only filled my right ear completely then I stopped because it felt so..well I don't know exactly how to describe it, but rather different.. so if you want to try it do it in shower just pour water into your nose and tilt your head to the side where you want water to go to, and you will feel how it flows into your ear, then repeat untill you can't get anymore water in.... Well I am in no means expert on this thing, but that's how I did it... and then I shook my head and let the water run from my ears.. moving your lower jaw helps as well as tilting and shaking your head..
I think that kind of equalizing would take quite bit of pleasure away from my recreational diving... and as I know it is dangerous as well.. so I am not planning on trying it again.. I didn't get infection:) but my ears felt wet for quite a while after that...
my 2c..
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is there anything more to the method of filling part of your mouth with water like you mentioned? any certian other minor things that have to be done or certian things to look out for with the technique?
Check out Carlos -140 dive video and you see one way to equalise with water (at -100 meter ):

One thing remains a bit strange here is that he puts his noseclip on again at te bottom. Why ???
And how exactly does he expel the water again during ascent ? Maybe the expanding air pushes the water out of his mounth ???
I forgot to ask him, so maybe someone else knows.
Interesting. Great video too.

I accidentally tried wet equalisation once. I was doing repeated 20m dynamics in the pool, with flooded sinuses. I soon forgot about this and tried to equalise (BTV method). There was a gurgle as my ears filled with water. I finished the length of the pool and surfaced. Everything sounded strange and quiet. I got the water out by trying to equalise again on the surface. It all came out and there were no ill effects afterwards.

Not something worth doing on purpose in the pool, but good to know that I can do it.

I had a similar accident once. In my case was during a negative dive head-up to -3m in order to train frenzel in the pool. In the exale part on surface, just before sinking, I usually fill my mouth with air and descend. That time I was too late in the filling and my mouth ended up mostly full with water. Since my ears were alread reclaiming some equalization, I did the tongue piston (frenzel) without thinking too muck on the consequences.. the result was unexpected and despite I was confortable at -3m, once at surface again I could not equalize back to ambient pressure, with quite a pain in my ears (I guess the eustachian tubes were not completely filled with water, there was some air too that expanded back).
The only thing I could think of, trying not to panic, was to rush into the sauna hoping that a warm environment could have helped.. It worked perfectly and tilting the head to one and the other side I could pour the water back in my nose completely. I am not willing to try again but at least I got what efattah ment: surely few dives are necessary for me to fill the tubes completely. Pull the water out, still puzzles me.. I cannot bring a sauna to the seaside :-/ Matteo.
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