So what is stopping you from diving deeper? I guessed it…it’s the ears. The most common answer I get when I take someone snorkeling is that they cannot dive deep as the pressure in their ear hurts. I will show you a few tips and techniques to overcome this problem but first you have to understand what is happening.
As you dive deeper below the water’s surface, air within your body’s air space, is being compressed by the surrounding water pressure. Your body’s air spaces which are most effected by increasing pressure are your ears and sinuses.
During your descends, more pressure builds up and if no action is taken to counteract this increase in water pressure, the squeeze in your body’s air space in increased. So why does this happen? Well, basically, the pressure outside your ear’s air space is greater than the pressure inside. As a result, this will give you an uncomfortable sensation in your ear and will eventually become even more painful should you continue to dive deeper.
To prevent this from happening, the pressure inside your ear’s air space must always be equal to the water pressure outside the airspace. Hence the name equalizing. This is accomplished by adding air to your ear’s air spaces during your descent before the discomfort feeling occurs.
So how do you equalize? Well it is really very simple. When you feel a slight pressure on your ear just before you experience discomfort, close your mouth and pinch your nose with your finger tips. Next attempt to gently blow out air through your blocked nose. The air should be directed into the ear and your sinus air spaces. Wiggling your jaw from side to side will make this equalization technique easier if it used in conjunction with the “pinch blow nose” technique..
Continuing to dive deeper with an unequalized ear should be avoided at all costs as this may result in injury. If you are in anyway experience discomfort in your ear, ascend to the surface and try to equalize again. If your attempts are futile, then stop attempting to dive deeper as you may have congestion problems in your body’s air space. Try some other time when you feel healthier. If the problem persists then it is advisable to check the problem with a physician.
Equalization of the ears and sinuses usually become easier with experience. Practicing and doing it regularly will eventually make equalizing become something natural for you to do whenever you dive deep below the surface.
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