Your ears are key to your diving fun. Happy ears mean happy dives, so it’s important to take care of them. Read our tips for keeping your ears safe.
Happy Ears = Happy Dives © Travis Isaacs
- Equalising. You should equalise early and often. It shouldn’t be forceful, and it shouldn’t hurt. If you can’t equalise, ascend a metre and try again. The important thing is not to force it and hurt your ears. Pushing yourself to get down and, as a result, missing many days diving is not fun, if you can’t equalise, sit the dive out and try again later or the next day.
- Decongestants. If you have a cold, you shouldn’t be diving and you shouldn’t be taking drugs so that you can. Decongestants can wear off underwater which could cause a reverse block on the way back up – this is a painful situation where expanding air can’t escape. If this happens to you, you need to descend a meter and try to let the air work its way out. Blowing your nose, wiggling your jaw and stretching your neck help.
- Infections. Infections can easily occur in the ear when diving. Warm, moist conditions are a perfect habitat, and your ear is just one such place. Rinsing your ears with fresh water helps, if you are prone to this malady then consider a stronger solution to help clean your ears and fight infection. DAN recommends a solution of half white vinegar and half rubbing alcohol.
- Cotton buds. Do not use them. Trying to clean your ears with these pokey sticks puts your ears in the greatest danger of all. Not only can they accidently get poked in too far but they can leave being fibres which can contribute to infection.
- Medical Advice. Seek help if you think you have a problem, it’s better to get treatment as soon as you can. Continuing to dive can make the problem worse.