Monday, April 12, 2010

How to Solve Equalization Problems When Diving

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one having equalization problem when diving.  I've had 2 barotrauma incidents, good thing my EENT doctor is also a diver so he understands the sport.

Using ProEar diving mask helped a bit.  Let's say if it takes me 20 minutes to descent to 40 feet, using it takes 10-15 minutes to descent.  For me, taking decongestant doesn't help much and risk of reverse block is high with multiple dives.

I read the Diver's Guide to Ears and understood it by heart.

These tips helped me pull it through:
  • Keep eustachian tubes open. Pop ears several hours before diving, equalizing every few minutes above land. (i had to keep it open for a week to make sure)
  • A dose of Claricort 250mcg tablet (anti-inflammatory drug) a day, taken an hour before the dive.
  • Two sprays on each nostril of Drixine an hour before every dive.
  • Avoid dairy products since it increase mucus production.
  • Fresh clean air helps control rhinitis or other allergies.
  • Use descent line to control descent rate.
  • Try several equalization techniques.  When blowing through the nose with pinched nose doesn't work, try Toynbee Maneuver. With your nostrils pinched, swallow. (yes it works! previously, i don't pinch while swallowing)
  • Most importantly, equalize at 1 foot below surface, then at 4, 6, 8 10 feet. (consciously equalizing at 1 foot below surface did the trick!)

My dive buddies all noticed I descent faster than usual nevertheless, after fourteen dives in four diving days I felt some pain on the outer ear canal.  A dose of claricort for a day or two helped.

These tips helped solve my equalization problem during our diving trip in Palau and Peleliu, Micronesia.  Hope this post will help you too.

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