Equalizing Explained

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What is equalizing? Equalizing is one of the most important skills you learn before you dive. Holding your nose and blowing sounds easy in theory, but it’s actually one of the most often encountered problems divers face. Here at Hawaii Eco Divers, safety is our priority- especially when it comes to your ears and sinuses! We’ve compiled a list of equalizing safety tips as well as an explanation to what equalizing actually is. 

 

Tips for when you’re having trouble equalizing 

  • If you’re having trouble equalizing, ascend a couple feet and try again. In fact, ascend until you’re actually able to equalize. Then, descend and continue equalizing. If you’re having trouble again, just ascend and descend and equalize. Repeat the pattern until you’re buoyant and comfortable at your depth. 
  • Take it slow. Don’t rush your descent.
  • Start equalizing before you start feeling the pressure build. In fact, just keep equalizing from the beginning to end of your descent. 
  • Descend feet first. Studies have shown that you need more force when you’re in a head first position rather than feet first. 
  • Look up. Extending your neck helps equalizing. 
  • Stop if it hurts. Don’t ever force an equalization.
  • Don’t ingest foods that increase or irritate your mucus production or membranes. This includes milk products, tobacco and alcohol. 

 

What is Equalization?

 

Equalization is balancing of pressure within the middle ear.

 

The outer ear canal fills up with water when you dive. The inner ear is full of bodily fluids. Your middle ear is filled with air. When you descend, air compresses in the middle ear and adds pressure to the eardrum and tissue in the ear. Water pressure from the outside and the inner fluids increase while the dead space in the middle ear stays the same. The gas there needs to fly free, so when you equalize, you let the pressurized air in the nose capsule of your mask into the middle ear through the eustachian tube. This rebalances the pressure and secures a safe and fun dive!

 

At Hawaii Eco Divers we’re all about safety, education, fun and conservation! Come dive with us and learn something! 

 

Best,

 

DMC Laura

 

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