As we descend, the surrounding pressure increases, while the pressure in your middle ear remains the same. The imbalance can cause extreme discomfort. Through equalization we re-balance the pressure in our middle ear by increasing or decreasing the gas pressure in order to match the pressure at depth.
Why is it important to equalize?
To restore volume lost to pressure, you send air into the middle ear via the eustachian tubes, equalizing or “popping” your ears. Failing to do this causes ears to hurt when diving, and potentially damages the delicate mechanisms of the ear.
What does equalization mean in diving?
In scuba diving the term “equalizing” means to equalize pressure between the inside of your ears and the underwater environment. Human ears have the natural ability to compensate external pressure from the surrounding world and this mostly happens without you even noticing that it happens.
Why do divers equalize their ears?
Why Do Divers Have to Equalize Their Ears? Water pressure increases the deeper a diver goes. Since the outer ear is is effected by the pressure of the surrounding environment, the pressure in the outer ear increases as a diver descends.
What happens if you don’t equalize underwater?
However, if a diver does not equalize early or often enough, the pressure differential can force the soft tissues together, closing the ends of the tubes. Forcing air against these soft tissues just locks them shut. No air gets to the middle ears, which do not equalize, so barotrauma results.
When Should divers equalize?
A diver needs to equalize approximately every two to three feet (1 m). Doing so is particularly important in the first 15 to 30 feet (5 to 10 m) of the dive. This is when the largest proportional pressure change takes place.
What happens if you Valsalva maneuver too much?
Do not attempt the Valsalva maneuver if you have high blood pressure, you are at risk for a stroke or heart attack or you have been diagnosed with an arrhythmia. Exercise caution when using the Valsalva maneuver to clear your ears; if it is performed too forcefully, you may rupture an eardrum.
What happens if you don’t equalize?
When you go deep enough and you don’t equalize, you will have a little puncture in your eardrum. What results to water in your inner ear and reach your balance organ. The balance organ controls your balance, so when water hits your balance organ your world will be upside down.
How deep can you go without equalizing?
For most swimmers, a depth of 20 feet (6.09 metres) is the most they will free dive. Experienced divers can safely dive to a depth of 40 feet (12.19 metres) when exploring underwater reefs. When free diving the body goes through several changes to help with acclimatisation.
How do free divers equalize?
The most common equalization technique that Scuba divers and people new to freediving use are the Valsalva maneuver. You simply pinch your nose and create pressure from your diaphragm by trying to exhale through your nostrils against your pinched nose. If you try this you will usually feel inflation in the ears.
What to do if you can’t equalize your ears?
Yawning or swallowing can help to open your eustachian tubes and equalize pressure. You may also consider using an over-the-counter (OTC) decongestant nasal spray.
Which is the most effective way to descend while maintaining orientation and attempting equalization of the ears?
Which is the most effective way to descend while maintaining orientation and attempting equalization of the ears? Feet first. A Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent/Emergency Swimming Ascent is the preferred action to take if you find yourself alone and out of air at 30 feet in open water.
What is the most important rule in scuba diving?
During open water certification, a scuba diver is taught that the most important rule in scuba diving is to breathe continuously and to avoid holding his breath underwater.
How often should you equalize?
Many charge controllers have equalization settings that you can set to help ensure the health of your batteries. Equalize your batteries at least once per month for 2 to 4 hours, longer if your batteries have been consistently undercharged.
How does pressure change as the diver descends?
As a diver descends, the pressure increase causes the air in their body’s air spaces to compress. The air spaces in their ears, mask, and lungs become like vacuums as the compressing air creates a negative pressure.