How to Equalize your Ears

Equalizing is something every diver does and what many divers have difficulty with when they are beginners as well as advanced. You may have equalized without even realizing it on a plane as it prepares for landing. I have had days when I had a hard time equalizing and there a a variety of reasons that can cause that. The first place to start is proper technique.

Important things to remember:

  • Be sure you can pinch your nose. We all have different facial features and it is important that our mask allows us to pinch or press our nostrils closed.
  • Equalize early and often. The first 15 feet is the biggest pressure change, don't wait until you feel pressure, start equalizing right away.
  • Gently blow through your nose not your reg. Don't worry you are not holding your breath.
  • You can try swallowing, wiggling your jaw and leaning your head to the side
  • Stop your descent if you feel pain, signal you have a problem and go up a little bit, never force a descent.
  • You can follow your group at a shallower depth, conditions permitted, until you feel your ears clear.

Equalizing gets easier the more you dive as your body adjusts to its new environment. DAN (see DAN Medical Advice) explains in depth how our ears work when equalizing and medical options you may have to make it easier. Many divers will give you advice on medications to take, remember they are not doctors, what works for them may no be right for you. DAN warns against taking nasal decongestants without consulting your doctor as they can wear off mid dive and cause issues.

Equalize early and often, use the proper technique and you will be down on the reef in no time